Jealousy and envy can be a common emotion found within families, amongst friends, in the church and community. It is not a pleasant feeling or experience. In the bible, God tells us that jealousy is a sin. This is stated in Galatians 5:19 which says:-
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious:sexual immorality,impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like”.
Jealousy can rise up within us for many reasons and sometimes unexpectedly. For instance, when we see our neighbour driving his new car, the rapid promotion of a work colleague or a friend’s financial good fortune. Jealousy can also occur within the church; like being jealous of another person’s gifts or talents, seeing another ministry prosper and grow faster than your own, or seeing other churches attracting more people than your own.
However this article does not seek to condemn anyone. You will probably find that if everyone in the church “fesses up” we will find that ALL of us have been guilty of this sin at one time or another. We are not alone in our feelings of jealousy when they occur. We may just think we are alone, because jealousy seems to be one of those ugly topics that no one wants to talk about let alone confess to one another. The trouble with this sort of secrecy and taboo, is that if we do not deal with jealousy in a Godly way it will cause all manner of hatred, discord, dissension and disunity within the church community and individual families.
Even worse if we do not try to repent of the sin of jealousy, we can find ourselves acting out our feelings of envy. For instance, slandering the person we are jealous of by telling lies about them, devising subtle and underhanded schemes to cause havoc in the other person’s life, planning to get rid of them if they are a work colleague, or doing their work badly if required to do a job for them.
In fact jealousy when acted out & not kept in check, can turn a seemingly pleasant church goer into a fully fledged “Jekyll and Hyde” personality.
The Good News however is that there is another way, and that is God’s way. This is alluded to in the bible verse from 1 John 1:9 :-
“If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.
Here are some practical steps to help deal with jealousy when it arises. They may not necessarily be easy to do. But choosing God’s way is always better than choosing the way of the devil. Also repentance may not happen overnight but may occur over a period of time.
1. It is good to remember that jealousy is a SIN before God. It is not just a feeling. Sometimes we may need to “call a spade a spade” so we don’t get into the habit of justifying why we may feel jealous of someone else. In calling jealousy a SIN helps us to realise that it is something WE ourselves need to deal with. It is therefore not our duty to take action into the other person’s life (causing destruction) to make the stakes more equitable. (You’d be surprised how many people try to take matters into their own hands).
2. Realise that if you give in to jealousy and allow it to fester and grow you are giving in to Satan ,his schemes and lies. You are really falling for Satan’s traps and deception. Ask yourself do you really want the Devil to win in your Christian walk and be on his side? Inside you probably don’t.
3. When the feeling of jealousy arises try to pray straight away to the Lord and ask for his Holy Spirit to give you the power to overcome your negative thoughts attitudes and feelings.
4. If you feel that jealousy is starting to overwhelm you and “eat away ” at you constantly, choose a mature christian you can trust who is assured of keeping a confidence with you. This could be a spiritual mentor, christian counsellor or trusted christian friend in or outside your church. Ask them to pray with you about this issue. Go in an attitude of humility. Try not to dwell too long on all the reasons why you are jealous and feeling negative. In prayer confess your jealousy before the Lord. Ask your friend to pray that you will be given the power to repent, and instead to be thankful for who you are and what you have already. Try to pray a blessing on the person you are jealous of and pray that God will destroy the work of the enemy in your life. Ask this person to continue to pray for you in this matter. Perhaps arrange to meet again on a regular basis until the matter is resolved in your life or you feel repentance has been achieved.
”Confessing” our sins to a fellow traveller in the above way, can be a very powerful weapon against Satan and his schemes in our lives. When we “confess our sins to one another” as God commands us in 1 John 1:9, it no longer has so much power over us anymore because it no longer remains hidden . If we experience sins that overwhelm us, then inner decay begins when we keep sin a secret and try to hide it from God and people. Eventually if we allow it to fester in our lives, sin can begin to take control of us. Eventually we may become the green one eyed monster wreaking havoc openly or secretly in the other person’s life whom we are jealous of. Needless to say this is not a good look for the Christian believer, especially as a witness for Jesus to the world at large.
If distance or circumstances does not allow you to meet with your support person immediately, talk to them over the phone. You can also pray together over the phone. It is better to deal with any feelings of jealousy early in the piece before it is allowed to linger on and grow out of proportion.
5. The following does not apply to everyone, but for some individuals jealousy and envy can be a real stronghold in their lives. This can be caused by a deep rooted hurt or trauma that may have occured in their early childhood or past. For instance, did your parents always favour other siblings over yourself, causing you to harbour bitterness to those other siblings or towards your parents? If so, as an adult when you see another person who looks or acts like that favoured sibling , it may cause an uncontrollable welling up of jealousy in your own life, that you cannot explain.
In this case, this would probably require more deeper inner healing prayer by a trained christian prayer counsellor. Some christian counsellors may be knowledgable of this. The prayer ministry “Ellel” & “Elijah House” also specialise in this type of prayer ministry. The process basically involves the prayer counsellor helping you to identify the root memory or incident that first caused the hurt in your life. You would then choose to forgive the offenders of that situation. What follows is usually feeling the hurt, anger, grief etc from that incident. In dealing with the root incident from the past, and feeling all the painful emotions that went with that, the root cause of the jealousy stronghold can be dealt with. The feelings of jealousy which may be triggered by everyday events (which serve as a reminder of the past trauma) would then be lessened or eradicated.
6. The final but important practical step is to try to refrain from “getting back” at the person you are jealous of. This can take the form of slander, gossip, trying to bring them down in some way, causing hardship and destruction in their lives, bullying, hatred, violence or starting a political faction against them in the church or workplace.
This step seems like a very obvious one. However unfortunately it is still happening in a prolific way today even as we speak. The New American Standard Bible says in Psalm 62:10 :-
Do not trust in oppression and do not vainly hope in robbery: if riches increase do not set your heart upon them.
It shows the great need that people have for the power of Jesus and his Holy Spirit in their lives. It also shows the need for people to be presented with practical ways they can put the bible and it’s commands into practice.
This is a big reason I feel strongly about the call to evangelism and the need to preach the message of the gospel to all the world through my gospel music and whatever gifts or talents that I may possess.
I hope this article will prove helpful for you in your Christian walk.
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