Jealousy is ugly. Once it takes root in our hearts, we’ll be thrown into spiritual turmoil, and not only will jealousy drive us to do something to hurt others, but it will also corrode us. As it’s said, “[W]rath kills the foolish man, and envy slays the silly one” (Job 5:2). I saw on the news that a girl cruelly killed her model sister because of envying her beauty, and ultimately she was sentenced to thirteen years’ imprisonment. There was also a high school student who murdered his classmate for envying his ranking first in the class, and afterward this student kept living in the shadow of pain.
These cases are horrifying. Although most people won’t do something extreme like those in the news, it is undeniable that jealousy is also harming us. Especially in work, when we see our colleagues with higher caliber, higher capability or better performance than us, and gain others’ admiration, we can’t help but become jealous and feel pain and distress. And we want them to make mistakes, and in severe cases, we can even exclude, attack and slander them, and even secretly cause mischief. Clearly, jealousy can cause us to become toxic and lose ourselves and reason. It must be said that jealousy is a spirit killer destroying ourselves.
Jealousy Comes From the Evil in Our Hearts
Then where does jealousy come from? It’s said in the Bible, “[I]f you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, … This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish” (James 3:14–15). “Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:22–23). “[W]here envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:16–18).
We can understand from these verses that, what God bestows upon man are all positive things, such as peace, kindness and mercy, and that all kinds of evil things in the world are from the devil, that is, what Satan brings to man are all negative things, such as jealousy and disputes. After we were corrupted by Satan, Satan’s life rules such as “Men should always strive to be better than their contemporaries,” “There can only be one alpha male,” “A real man is not without venom” have deeply taken root in our hearts. This has made us become arrogant, conceited and competitive and always want to be the best in any group. Once we see someone better than us, we feel jealous, don’t want to listen to them, and then exclude, shun and belittle them, losing our normal relationships with them, and we also feel great pain. Just as Proverbs 14:30 says, “[E]nvy [is] the rottenness of the bones.”—this is absolutely right.
Though we don’t want to be a jealous person, most of the time, once in the right environment we can’t help but feel jealous. So how can we resolve the bondage of jealousy and live calmly and freely?
1.Be Grateful for God’s Bestowment, Just Be Ourselves and Don’t Compare Ourselves With Others
James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.” Galatians 5:26 says, “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” These verses show us that everything we possess comes from God, and that even our gifts and specialties are also predetermined by God. Therefore, we don’t need to compare ourselves with others and should not envy or exclude others who are better than us, but instead should seek only to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements and just be ourselves. Just like grass. Although it is ordinary and insignificant, not as beautiful as flowers and not as tall as trees, it also has missions bestowed by God: It can beautify our environment by silently adding a hint of green to the earth, and be used as animal food—it is an indispensable plant. So, we should obey God’s bestowment with gratitude and complete our missions.
2.Learn From Others’ Strengths and Make Up for Our Own Deficiencies
Everyone created by God has his strengths and has some aspects others should learn from. So, encountering various people is an opportunity to better make up for our shortcomings. Take Moses who was used by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, for example. Although Moses was appealing, he wasn’t good at speaking. So, God arranged Moses’ elder brother Aaron to practically help Moses. And Moses wasn’t jealous of Aaron, and with his help, Moses completed God’s commission better. Therefore, when we are in a place with someone more talented than us, we can view this matter from a different perspective and think like this: “Since he is better than us, we can learn from him when we don’t understand something. It’s an extra path for us.” Consider: If those around us are inferior to us, we may be satisfied with our current circumstances and refuse to go any further. This way, we then won’t make great progress in professional aspects or other aspects. However, if we interact with someone better than us and take a calm attitude of learning from them, then we will be able to absorb their strengths and make up for our shortcomings. Won’t we have received special favor then? Isn’t living this way very relaxing?
3.Call to the Lord to Deliver Us From the Bondage of Jealousy Because He Has Great Power
The Bible says, “You shall make your prayer to Him, and He shall hear you, and you shall pay your vows. You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established to you: and the light shall shine on your ways” (Job 22:27–28). Jealousy comes from our evil, corrupt disposition; we ourselves are incapable of controlling it and only God can change us. Therefore, when we are bound by jealousy, we should pray to the Lord, asking Him to guide us and help us let it go. For example, we can pray like this, “O God, I can’t stand to see someone else be better and I’m jealous every time I see someone better than me. What kind of a person am I? This isn’t proper humanity. People like me don’t deserve to live. May You discipline me.” After that, we can make the following prayer, “God, please give me an obedient and humble heart, save me from my narrow-mindedness, and make me more generous in spirit, more magnanimous and live out a human likeness, so that I can avoid shaming You.” After practicing praying this way for a while, we will unknowingly become a little more generous in spirit. The next time we encounter someone more capable than us, we won’t feel so jealous, and will be able to accept them, interact normally with them and gradually have proper humanity.
I believe if we practice according to the three paths above, our spiritual bug will be fixed—we will be able to cast off the bondage of jealousy.