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Mastering Jealousy and Envy

Updated on March 23, 2017
What makes you so special that YOU get the bigger bowl?
What makes you so special that YOU get the bigger bowl?

Introduction

Jealousy and envy are twin sisters. You will not find one without the other. They are inseparable! It doesn’t matter about age, color, race or background.

The most damaging thing about jealousy in its destructive force towards its object. This is especially true if a person is involved. Many people have been lead to do unthinkable things all because they felt that what someone else had was more desirable than what they possessed.

There are many books that cover the pitfalls of both jealousy and envy. However, no one book addresses the subject as completely as the Bible. It is a guide to living not only a happier life but a life that is pleasing to God. Just as the physician attempts to discover the root of your physical condition; the Bible investigates your spiritual or "inner man". One of the most prolific writers of the New Testament was the Apostle Paul. Let's investigate first his findings on these twins.

Why is this older woman giving me such a hard time?
Why is this older woman giving me such a hard time?

Why Despise the Youth?

There is so much emphasis placed on youth and "retaining a youth image" that people tend to seek the resurrection of their former years through cosmetic surgery, pep or diet pills and the wearing of clothes that would be more suited for a person of 20 years than of 45 years. Some men even seem to think that marrying a younger woman gives the unmistakable impression of zest and masculine charm.

On the negative side, youth denotes inexperience, waywardness and the inability to make rational decisions. Teenagers can be misjudged because of their choice in verbal communication, dress and general appearance. While some are envious others feel contempt and dislike for those who have not reached maturity.

This is one reason why the Apostle Paul admonishes his protégé Timothy by telling him “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” These powerful words from the Apostle Paul suggests that not only should you avoid envy, but you should present yourself in such a way that it demonstrates to others your ability to conduct yourself as a responsible youth and people will not envy or despise you for being young. Yes, it is very important if you are a young person to be known for your positive actions moreover than the length of your skirt or trousers.

"Everybody is doing it ... not a good enough reason."
"Everybody is doing it ... not a good enough reason."

Everyone is doing it ... why can't I

If we continue to examine the writings of Paul concerning this destructive duo; we further discover in his letters to the church at Rome that we should “behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.” (Romans 13:13 NIV)

Don’t waste your time being envious of others. Some Christians feel that too much attention is placed on what you can't do as oppose to what you should do. They see others seemingly having fun staying out all night engaging in debauchery on Saturday night but on Sunday morning can be found singing in the choir. With envy some desire to live such duplicity without conscience or regret. Such deception is to be pitied not envied.

Why does Paul even suggest that people conduct themselves differently during daylight than they do at night? There is a constant reference to “the day” that you find in several of his as well as others scriptures. The general consensus is that things are done in an inappropriate manner mostly in the evening hours as oppose to during daytime. This is because during the twilight hours when things could be hidden because of the lack of “light” or “illumination.”

Your vision is not always as acute during the night as it is in the day. A lot of things can be overlooked because they are not readily seen at night. Night is generally a time for relaxation and reflection and not for “working” although there are people who work at night. If we spent every waking hour in glorifying God; then our “nights” can be filled with relaxation and reflections!

Unfortunately, in the 21st century—there is no difference regarding when people choose to misbehave whether during the day or the night.

"Why should she win when I am so much better?"
"Why should she win when I am so much better?"

Can Envy take on a life of its own ...

Even the Apostle James addresses the problems that arise from envy referring to it as a spirit or entity. This particular entity can be more prevalent in women than men. It is a woman’s carnal nature to want something that is not hers; whether it’s something as mundane as a pair of designer shoes or as personal as the desire to “possess another’s spouse!”

Just seeing how lovely a dress looks on a skinny model can evoke unrealistic imagining in stout women. The media and department stores "play" on this weakness by making wearing apparel in sizes from extra small to plus knowing that it will not look the same on all figure types. The media glorifies petite and attractive women and even encourages "envy" among women. If you know yourself and are happy with how you look envy and jealousy with not reside as quiet voices ushering you to do what is not in your best interest because of what someone else does.

Being a godly woman or man, you will crucify or “put to death” the primitive—that destructive influence of envy and jealousy and embrace a more higher level of spirit maturity. You know that if you are a married woman/man, you shouldn't look at the things other women/men have and put yourself into an unnecessarily stressful state of mind. This will definitely put a strain on your marriage. The old saying “the grass always looks greener on the other side” is true. It may indeed look greener but you can never know what others have experienced in order to "create that illusion!" The godly individual knows how to take what he or she has and create a happy and realistic life!

Enjoying my life with my significant other is better than anything else. I am so blessed!
Enjoying my life with my significant other is better than anything else. I am so blessed!

Enjoy whatever state you are in ...

A special note to the unmarried, especially to the single woman. Do not be envious of the married woman! Investigate your rationale for wanting to marry. Is it because everyone around you is married and you don’t want to be considered “an old maid?” Is it because you believe that once you marry, you will not have to work anymore? Is it because you are looking for a father for your children and a helper in paying your bills? Or do you honestly desire a spouse to share your love and build a lasting relationship according the teachings found in the Bible?

If the latter is the case and you are sincerely seeking God for a spouse, He will give you the desires of your heart! In the meantime, work on making yourself the type of woman that any godly man would be proud to have by his side! Remember, how can two walk together unless they agree?

This same reference is applicably to men as well. Don’t be envious or jealous of a man who seems to have a loving and loyal wife. Consider your actions as a means of determining if you possess the necessary qualifications for such a mate.

"What am I going to do now?"
"What am I going to do now?"

Getting the Meaning (For Ladies Only)

You and your best friend are both competing for the crown of Miss Congeniality. You have coveted winning this title since you were in grade school with Sandy. The day of the event finally arrives and you prepare to sing the song you practiced all week. Just before your performance Sandy gets on stage and sings the same song. Now you have to think fast to change your plans. Although your alternative song was nicely done it wasn't as impressive as your original tune. As a result Sandy wins the contest. She turns to you with a knowing smile and waits for your congratulations. You are angry and very envious. What will you do?

"I wonder what he's thinking?"
"I wonder what he's thinking?"

Getting the Meaning (For the Gents)

Daniel and Shelia have been married for six year. Shelia has been complaining of migraines due to the stress of her new responsibilities at work and the demands of a growing family. Shelia is not as responsive during intimacy as in the past. Daniel has notice how well Jake and his wife interact. He is starting to pay more and more attention to Jake’s wife and imagines what it would be like to have her as a wife. Do you think this level of concentrate could prove dangerous?

Doing the Right Thing ...

Your brother has been married to Debra for a year and just met Angela who he thinks would make a much better wife; what should he do?

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    • Jennifer Bart profile image

      Jennifer Bart 3 years ago from Texas

      I agree 100% great job

    • Jacqueline4390 profile image
      Author

      Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS 3 years ago from Memphis

      Thank you Jennifer. I think it is important that men as well as women understand the destructive forces behind envy and jealousy.

    • Jennifer Bart profile image

      Jennifer Bart 3 years ago from Texas

      Very nice I like the way you wrote from both the male and female perspective very useful and we'll thought out piece of a simple divine truth.