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By Dr. Rick Koole
Pastor of LifePointe Church 

Jealousy – 'the green-eyed monster'


Last updated 11/1/2018 at 4:03pm

Jealousy has been called a lot of things. The Romans called it “the enemy of honor,” King Solomon referred to it as “rottenness of the bones,” and Shakespeare labelled it “the green sickness” or the “green eyed monster.” And it can infect the best of people.

The counselors in Florence, Italy asked Leonardo da Vinci, then Italy’s most celebrated artist, to submit sketches for the decorations of the Grand Hall in Florence. One of the counselors had heard of a young and little-known artist named Michelangelo who had done good work and asked him to submit sketches also.

The sketches of Leonardo were as expected superb, but when the counselors saw the sketches of Michelangelo, there was spontaneous expression of wonder and enthusiasm. News of this reached Leonardo, along with the fact that one of the counselors had said, “Leonardo is getting old.” Da Vinci was never able to get over the eclipse of his fame by Michelangelo, and the remaining years of his life were clouded with jealousy and gloom.

Jealousy often rears its ugly head at an early age as siblings seek the approval of their parents. For many that envy can last a lifetime…especially if their siblings achieve greater success than them. Aeschylus was right when he wrote, “Few men have the strength to honor a friend’s success without envy.”

Many people secretly envy the successes of their friends, or even their closest relatives. It has been rightly said that, “No man is a complete failure until he begins disliking men who succeed.” After experiencing both the highs and lows of life, Chuck Colson spoke the truth when he declared, “For every man who sincerely pities our misfortunes, there are a thousand who sincerely hate our success.”

Following are three suggestions to help you avoid – or overcome – jealousy and envy.

Quit comparing yourself to others: You are an incredible “one of a kind.” God made each of us with a purpose to fulfill in this life. Find and pursue your purpose and stop comparing your life with that of others.

Learn when and how to be content: The Bible is so wise in its teaching that, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (I Timothy 6:6). This contentment is especially powerful when it comes to how you should view money and possessions. The Bible reminds us that we should, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Rejoice when those closest to you prosper: This is especially true when it comes to your siblings and close friends. Instead of secretly harboring jealousy when they succeed, learn to help them celebrate their successes.

There is an old fable wherein the Devil once was crossing the Libyan Desert and met a group of demons tempting a holy hermit. They tried seductions of the flesh, used doubts and fears, but to no avail. The holy man was unmoved. The Devil then stepped forward: “Your methods are too crude. Permit me one moment.” Going to the hermit, he said, “Have you heard the news? Your brother has been made the Bishop of Alexandria.”

According to the fable, a scowl of malignant jealousy clouded the serene face of the holy man. Please don’t let that be you. Now is the time to address malignant jealousies that have been robbing you of contentment.


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