'Jealousy-- The Sin, the Sinner,
the Seizure and the Solution'---Part I
A message to the church from Jo Benrexi
Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, But who is able to stand before jealousy? --Proverbs 27:4
Everyone is familiar with jealousy. It begins with the passing thought that someone who is being honored is not really worthy. It is being aware of our own lack when someone tells us about a blessing they have received. It is being provoked by thoughts of unfairness when someone else gets more or better than we got. It is thoughts of, "I was supposed to do that, not her," or "Why did they pick him instead of me? I'm much more faithful."
Webster's Dictionary defines jealousy as, "a state of fear, suspicion, or envy caused by a real or imagined threat or challenge to one's possessive instincts. It may be provoked by rivalry, especially in sexual love, by competition or by desires for the qualities or possessions of another// a zealous desire to preserve an existing situation or relationship."
Does any of this sound familiar? In all likelihood, you have experienced jealousy from both sides. You've been jealous, and you've been the object of another person's jealousy. We will look at a few examples from the Bible of people who, like you and me, were in those positions.
Before we do, I would like to present an acrostic that has helped me to understand jealousy:
J = judgment
E = envy
A = animosity
L = license
O = obstinacy
U = unbalanced
S = selfishness
Y = yoke
We will see these qualities woven through the fabric of the person who gives in to the temptation to fall into the sin of jealousy. Did I mention that jealousy is a sin? It is, every bit as much as murder and adultery are. The tenth commandment, Thou shalt not covet, is all about jealousy. So, let's call jealousy what it really is- SIN. And with this sin come consequences for both the sinner and the one who is the object of this sin.
I have wondered why this sin is permitted to seize so many in the church today. Have you ever wondered why it is tolerated? Perhaps you were the object of someone's jealousy and there was no correction at all. Have you wondered why its destructive effects are seemingly ignored? One possible explanation is that those who are in authority are as vulnerable to this temptation as those who fill the pews. It is frightening to think that those who are supposed to be watching over our hearts may not be watching over their own hearts.
Another possibility is that this sin is so universal we now accept it as human nature, not realizing it isn't part of the new nature we have in Christ. It is offered to and embraced by young and old, rich and poor, male and female. It crosses racial and cultural boundaries, an equal opportunity temptation. And the fruit of this sin is the same as any other-separation from God and others. No good can come from yielding to this temptation, and no excuse is valid. To live a life that is pleasing to God, we must repent and turn away from this evil. AMEN.
Read: Part 2 Part 3 Part 4