Jealousy can affect those within our personal circles most of all. It affects co-workers, friends, children, parents, husbands and wives. It spreads like a wildfire bitterly devouring our joy, peace, and especially our love. It causes our walk with Christ to become useless and ineffective just like if we were sick, eating away at our heart like cancer.
At first, as I read the chapter in The Love Dare by Steven & Alex Kendrick, I was disconnected, thinking I really don't have any trouble with jealousy. Think again!! Seriously, do I?? As I read and understood more fully what jealousy is, I realized how easy it would be for it to sneak into my life and heart.
Here is the definition from my favorite dictionary on the word jealousy: That passion or peculiar uneasiness which arises from the fear that a rival may rob us of the affection of one whom we love, or the suspicion that he has already done it; or it is the uneasiness which arises from the fear that another does or will enjoy some advantage which we desire for ourselves. (Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary)
"There are actually two forms: a legitimate jealousy based upon love, and an illegitimate jealousy based upon envy. Legitimate jealousy sparks when someone you love, who belongs to you, turns his or her heart away and replaces you with someone else." (The Love Dare)
God is jealous of our love for Him. He does not sin when he is jealous, deeply desiring our worship and devotion. On the other hand, the Bible is full of examples of people who sinned because their envy got out of hand. This kind of jealousy is the opposite from love.
Jealousy can turn into violence as we see in the Bible, newspapers, and strewn throughout the internet. It certainly isn't something I want to struggle with!! Cain was jealous that God accepted Able's sacrifice and killed him. Sarah was jealous that Haggar could have children and she couldn't.
"For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." James 3:16
Like most sin, jealousy starts small and grows out of proportion if those original thoughts aren't taken into captivity (II Corinthians 10:5.) Jealousy starts with a selfish heart. Where there is love, there is no room for selfishness or jealousy.
To keep jealousy from growing in my husband's heart or mine (for that matter) I am going to learn to love him more and more. Neither one of us needs to have an elicit relationship to be tempted to jealousy.
Ways I could be jealous of my husband and how to solve it with love:
- He goes on an outing with the children: thank him for spending time with the children and building relationships.
- He spends time at the gym, takes a class, committee meeting at church, or __________: take an interest in him (cheer him on) showing interest in this part of his life.
- He works long hard hours at work: leave him notes to thank him for his hard work, hug him and greet him when he comes through the door, take his lunch bag and jacket putting them away WITHOUT COMMENT!!
- Never compare him with other husbands: who might keep the house or cars repaired, seem to have a better disposition, more gentlemanly, or polite children: praise him for what repairs he has made, look for all the good you can find in his noble character. Every man has something to praise. Through praise, I have heard of wives living in very difficult circumstances to bring their husband up to a much higher level in the eyes of others. There is no telling what praise can do!!
- When he is busy on the computer, TV, or other electronic device: Don't harass him. Nothing is accomplished. Bring him water, ice-tea, or his favorite soft drink. Bring him a snack. Pass by occasionally and give him a quick kiss letting him know more is waiting for him later!!
If selfishness rules instead of love, what YOU want will become the magnet instead of peace in your relationship with your husband. I have noticed (since writing about selfishness) how many times selfishness is at the bottom of my motives.
Become your husband's biggest cheerleader and reject any thoughts of jealousy springing up in your heart. Ask God to do a work in you, cleansing your heart with his blood until you are able to share His love with your husband. It will spread to your children too!! Love is infectious!!
In Christ Alone,
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