What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. – James 1:16-17
A sermon about the topic of jealousy was given a few weeks ago that I loved. Jealousy isn’t a big thing I struggle with but I would be lying if I didn’t say that it creeps in every once in a while. I’ve found through the years that contentment and trusting God with what He gives you when He gives it to you can protect your heart. We’ve all struggled with jealously, and it can appear over different situations at different points throughout our life. Isn’t jealousy the main source of most relational conflict?
I wanted to share a piece of the sermon on dealing with jealousy so we can protect our hearts, be mindful of others and be the kind of friends we would want ourselves.
How to prevent jealousy
- Have a candid, open, unfiltered conversation with God about how you feel.
- Develop a habit of celebration. Speak truth. Ex: You look great! (because that is true she does). Instead of:
I’m so happy for you that you fit in size 0 pants! (Because you might not be happy but you can admit she looks great.)
The example you set in front of your children can help them celebrate others too – an example given is when the other team wins or another player does really great. You could go up to the player at the end of the game and say, “You played a great game, you should be proud,” and say it to their parents too. You don’t have to say, “Glad you won,” because it’s not true, and that’s OK. But you can say the truth and by saying it to that person, a part of your heart really does celebrate them and helps protect your heart from bitterness.
So let’s start with myself, what do I get jealous about? Over the past few years it’s been a few things like wishing my parents lived closer to me, or having a normal relationship with my brother, but mostly, international travel. When I hear someone going I get super excited but I am hard on myself for not being able to go because I just want to be on a plane all the time hoping country to country.
On the flip side due to jealousy, I’ve lost several friends (when I look at it they really were casual acquaintances) who I thought would celebrate with me but instead unfriended me or attacked me for not consulting them when I posted something about my life.
Being on that end hurts. Jealousy can hurt relationships, and change relationships, sometimes and unfortunately forever.
Let us always be in each other’s cheering section, even if our friend gets what we wish we had, and we’re still waiting for ours. And to my friends who cheer for me, you know who you are because I share the ups and downs with you, thanks for being true.