Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jealousy and Love

“Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy - in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other.” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
I've been bumping into jealousy in my life. I don't know what to do about it. If were me feeling jealous ~ I would know what to do. I would confess my sin to the Lord and ask Him to forgive me. I try to do this anytime emotions like jealousy or bitterness creep into my heart. But what do you do if it is directed towards you?

That is a really good question. There are a lot of great verses in the Bible about jealousy and envy. If you do a search on Google or Yahoo you will find them.

This is one of my favorites: James 4:11 ESV "Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge." It's a good verse, because the temptation you fall into when you are jealous of someone is talking about that person.

This I know from experience. I had a classmate in school I was jealous of for reasons of her superior intellect and beauty. I was a very young Christian and hadn't quite figured out what jealousy and bitterness did to the human heart. I talked about her a lot. I obsessed about her in fact. It was an icky time. Finally I got involved in the youth ministry of a new church and began to learn more about the bible and relationships through Christ and my bitterness and rancor began to be exposed to me by the Holy Spirit and I repented. Little by little, forgiving, exposing, forgiving, I was healed of these horrid emotions and set free.

Jealousy is a favorite tool of the enemy's. He would love to use it to tear apart relationships of Christian brothers and sisters wherever possible. The same holds true for bitterness. If you are wronged or feel you are, you need to apply forgiveness, not judgment or bitterness, because it is an emotion that will eat you alive. Eat your very heart out. Destroy you emotionally and leave you unhappy, angry and without the fruit of the Holy Spirit to help get you through this life.

I still haven't answered my question. But, I am beginning to be convicted and convinced of the answer. If someone is directing jealousy and bitterness your way you must pray for them, that is obvious...but what really goes against human nature is the ultimate solution ~ you must love them. Not secretly in your heart of hearts, although that is good. The tendency is to withdraw and attempt to protect yourself against the negative emotion. But that will not solve the problem. In fact you are passively punishing the person. You must actively and in every way you can show love and kindness to the person. As much as they will allow you to, you must love them with word and deed, in faith and the Love of Jesus, not out of obligation, but from the heart as Jesus inside of you directs you to.

This is difficult stuff. But this is the only way to go. This is the only way for a Christian sister or brother to help someone struggling with these potent and painful emotions. Because they are in pain. They are hurting or they would not have these feelings in the first place. So you must look on this person with eyes of love as Jesus looks as you. Without judgment. Without fear of being hurt. Without defensiveness or holding back. You must love them. For what is the challenge in loving someone who is acting all loving toward you? Rather the challenge is to love someone who feels bitterness towards you. Negativity you can sense. That is the challenge. And it is the life and behavior we are called to at the Cross. A life without judgment, a life of forgiveness, a life without pride or self-importance and a life of letting God be our defender, not ourselves.

Thanks for listening while I thought and silently prayed this issue through. "If you want to have friends you must shew yourself friendly" as the Bible says in Proverbs 18:24 KJV and the verse goes on to say, "And there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." That friend of course is Jesus. And as Christians that friend should also be us! God bless you all today and remember Jesus loves you and so do I!

NOTE TO READERS: I am resurrecting this older blog to write about Jesus and struggles I am having in the faith and in my life revolving around biblical truth and my experiences with my faith. This is all happening because Feedspot noticed people were reading this blog. Thank you Lord! AMEN