Jealousy

The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves. ~William Penn

One of my middle school students belongs to a radio-reading club. She and a boy write a script together and then read it to the school over the PA system.

Another girl in the school likes this boy and gives my student “the evil eye” at lunch time.  There is nothing for the other girl to be jealous of; my student is in love with her cat and doesn’t seem to have noticed boys yet.

Jealousy is funny like that. It shows up to the party whether or not it was invited.

Paul and Barnabas were passing through Pisidian Antioch and went into the synagogue. During the meeting, the leaders of the synagogue invited them to speak.

Paul and Barnabas told the gathered Jews and Gentiles about Jesus and the free gift of salvation. The people invited the two men to come back and teach the following week.

When the next Sabbath came, nearly the entire city showed up to hear what Paul and Barnabas had to say.

You see it coming, don’t you?

A big green cowboy riding into town on an even greener horse.

The very people who had invited Paul and Barnabas to speak were now filled with jealousy. They began to spread lies about the men. They incited the “popular people” against them and had them run out of town.

They lost the gift and gained the grave.

We can see the error of their ways, but can we see our own?

Do you invite a friend to join your book club but regret it when she becomes the life of the party?

Do you audition with a friend for the local theater and then smirk at every mistake she makes after she gets the lead role?

Or is it more serious than that? Have you hoped your Christian brother or sister would fail? That bad things would happen to them instead of to you for a change? That their children would screw up like yours?

Notice in Acts 13, that it isn’t the jealous synagogue rulers who have a happy ending. It’s the ones who followed Jesus and let others live in the limelight.

But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:14-16 NIV

God’s Goals

There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there. ~Indira Gandhi

My writing goal is to make God relevant again. I want people to love his Word. I want people to fall in love with his Son. I long for a time when people will gather to talk about what God is doing right now, right here.

I also want to sell my work.

So when a friend on Facebook rejoices that her Bible study about abortion is in the top 1% of Amazon sales, I have two options. 1. I can cry out in frustration, ignoring her success and focusing on my sales’ low ranking. Or 2. I can congratulate her, knowing that my goal is being met through her.

In Luke 9, the disciples argue about who is the greatest and Jesus shoots them down with a child. Not to be outdone, John tells Jesus that he saw a man working miracles in Jesus’s name, but the man wasn’t part of the inner-circle. John tried to stop him.

Jesus corrected John with this:

50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” (NIV)

Is your goal to raise godly children? Then why are you jealous of the relationships your kids have with godly people?

Is your goal to end homelessness in your community? Then why are you envious of other organizations promoting the number of people off the streets because of their work?

Do you want people to pray? Then why do you scoff at  prayer circles and Prayer at the Pole meetings?

Are the ideals you hold for the greater good actually for the greater good? Or are they all about what you can do and accomplish?


 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:9-18 NIV

 

Jealousy and Pride

It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. ~Saint Augustine

This hurts to admit. I was not inducted into the National Honor Society until I was a senior in high school.

No, that’s not what hurts.

What pains me to admit is that when asked if I expected the secret induction, I answered, “Truthfully, I was surprised that I didn’t get in last year.”

Wow. Real humility, huh?

I always did well in school- academically and socially. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t inducted into the NHS as a junior with so many of my friends and peers. I had the grades. I had the extra-curricular achievements. What didn’t I have?

Have you ever been there?

You have the experience, but you were passed over for the promotion.  The younger girl with the longer legs got the job.

You filled out all the forms, but didn’t get the grant. It was awarded to the homeless shelter’s social worker. Again.

You always bake the best ham and loveliest lemon meringue pie for Easter. Your mother-in-law chose to join the other widows from church for lunch instead.

Could it be that we fail to see our own flaws, our own short-comings, our own pride?

In Luke 5, the Pharisees and teachers of the law are following Jesus around. They like what they see and usually what they hear. This is a guy who knows his religion. He has Scripture memorized and can throw down miracles like matzah.

But instead of partying with the Pharisees, Jesus chooses the tax collectors. Instead of inviting disciplined disciples, he asks kiss-ups and frauds like Levi to follow him.

Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:29-32 NIV

Jesus invites everyone to follow him.

But only those who realize they aren’t worthy truly find him.


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  Philippians 2:3-4 NIV