Monday, May 28, 2012

Jealousy Is Not My Goal

Jealousy is an unproductive, destructive emotion. It pushes others away instead of our desire to draw them near. Although it is hard to control feeling jealous, our actions associated with jealousy are ours to control. This is not easy but it is possible with prayer and self-control. When we point out how others are unfair to us it does not usually make them treat us more fairly. Instead they feel justified in their actions because we come off as bitter and demanding. I battle with jealousy in my life. As I grow older I wish I could say that I can see life from other people's perspective and that I get jealous less often. The truth is, my desire to loved and appreciated are still strong and that leads me to jealousy. The difference is I am better at controlling my actions so I suffer in silence with my brokenness more as I mature. Someday I pray I will get over jealousy entirely. It only serves to make me self-centered rather than other-centered. My life purpose is to 'Know Him and to make HIm known.' Nothing about jealousy or dwelling on the unfairness of life promotes my goal.

Time after time I have seen situations where others were rightfully jealous of being slighted in a situation. The result of pointing out the other person's unfairness only drove a wedge in their relationship. It did nothing to improve things. So what is the goal? Living with an unfair situation does not make it more fair but it also doesn't pull people apart. Okay, I have an example.

A friend of mine who had a big heart but was always slightly overwhelmed with her life of raising toddlers and family life never remembered to send cards or gifts to her in-laws. It came natural for her to plan and do for her family but time always ran out when in-laws birthdays rolled around. She regretted it I could see that. Was it unfair? You bet it was unfair that they went year after year without being cared for equal to her family. But when her in-laws complained that she and her husband never thought of them, instead of her righting the situation she just stopped caring. She convinced herself that they were bitter and demanding and that no matter what she did it would never be good enough. So why should she even try. In her heart, her neglect turned into their wrong.

So often in families life is simply not fair. One person does more for one person and somehow feels justified in their actions. Or they know they should be more fair but simply aren't. Either way getting jealous and filled with hurt feelings leads to counting the ever increasing ways we are wronged instead of being joyful in the ways we are blessed.

There is a saying that life is not fair. How true that is. But the lesson needs to go further than just pointing out the truth. Life is not fair and we need to embrace it and the people in our lives regardless. We can choose to be grateful and loving or bitter and demanding. Neither will make life more fair but the first will make it more satisfying and draw people to us rather than push them away. In the end, what we all want and need is to have loved ones in our lives.

 A better way to look at situations where we are slighted is to consider who in our lives feel slighted by us. I bet there are many in my life who view me as unfair and are mature enough to keep it to themselves. Umm, that sounds like a way for me to turn this from self-centered to other-centered. Maybe I am growing up after all.

 In Him,


  1. Your post has words to ponder in it, about fairness. "Fairness isn't here, but Jesus is" is a quote I read recently, and it does apply.

  2. Gosh, with my students I hear this so much...'that's not fair' to which my response is 'life is not fair' but in the meantime wondering why...I know a lot of the 'intellectual' reasons but sometimes the heart doesn't hear those words as well...great post!

  3. Thanks for this post. I've been in the driver's seat with this emotion and experienced it from others. It's hard to deal with.

    I've found that most of what I've experienced from others dealing with jealousy came from a lack of trust. :-(

  4. Good post Barbara. Know that you are not alone in those thoughts. I to find myself at times in the jealousy struggle, even though I don't want to be. I feel that as time goes by I learn to become less with the help of God's words.