Jealousy, the green-eyed-monster that makes us green with envy! It’s true. We all have jealous moments. But sustained jealous feelings are not healthy. Over time, the lingering effects of jealousy lead to relationship problems. So how do we let those jealous feelings go?
First, we need to get at the root cause. The root of jealousy is usually insecurity. That insecurity is based in fear, fear of losing something or someone, or fear that you lack something you think you need. For example, you could be jealous over someone’s shoes, good looks, a happy marriage or their promotion at work. You wonder, why them, not me? Insecurity tells you that you aren’t good enough or important.
Don’t listen to that jealous voice. It is not based in the security of God’s love and unconditional acceptance. Rather it plays on a lack of trust that God will take care of you and provide for your needs.
Interestingly, the Bible has quite a bit to say about jealousy and offers guidance on how to deal with it:
- Be aware of jealousy. It may be normal to have jealous thoughts, but it is not a positive emotion to nurture! Because jealousy creeps up from insecurity, it should not be fueled. Instead, identify the source of insecurity and what is driving those feelings. Realize that this emotion fights against trusting God. James 3:14-15 warns us, “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.”
- Stop thinking about jealous feelings. This will only lead to anger and revenge. Proverbs 6:34 tells us, “For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge.” Therefore, we need to take jealous thoughts captive. Grab those thoughts, find our security in Christ, and confront the issues that are prompting these feelings. Ruminating on jealous thoughts fuels anger.
- Do not act on jealous feelings. Romans 13:13– Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. Once we recognize jealous thoughts, take them captive and don’t allow them to fuel anger and revenge, our actions change. Here is an example. Sally is jealous of her husband’s new administrator who is quite attractive. Sally recently had a baby and feels insecure about her physical attractiveness. Yet her husband shows no signs of lacking interest in her. Sally identifies her jealous thought towards the administrator. She realizes it has everything to do with how insecure she feels about her own body. Then she takes that thought captive, “I’ve just had a baby. My body is bouncing back. It isn’t what it was, but that is normal and doesn’t mean my husband will look at other women. There is no evidence that my husband is interested in this woman. I need to talk to him and be reassured.” Sally talks to her husband who reassures her that he finds her even more attractive as a mom and will honor his vow to be faithful to her. Sally felt reassured. Her willingness to talk it out helped her overcome jealous feelings. She did not allow those feelings to take hold and do harm.
When you have a jealous feeling, be aware, know that it is based in insecurity, take the thought captive and replace it with the truth of your security in Christ, and talk it out so you don’t act on those feelings.Taming jealousy