Going Green: The Jealousy Test

by Andy Wood on September 16, 2009

in Hoarders, LV Alter-egos

jealousOkay, all you Facers, Spacers, and Twitter Chasers!  Have you had this little thrill yet?  You’re tooling and tweeting through Virtual Disneyworld, smiling and waving at the world… and then you see her (or him).

Your blood runs cold.

The Rolaids are calling.

You do a quick peek into their world, hoping to find some sort of misery.  The agony of their defeat will mean the thrill of your victory.

Bottom line:  you just don’t like ‘em.

But wouldn’t you know it?  That arrogant ass or deceiving cheater from your past is living sublimely.  No worries or cares, it seems.  And there it is… swelling up in all its greenness and meanness, beneath the veneer of your niceness and – dare I say it? – godliness.

Not a social networker?  Let’s start from this angle.

Trust your first instincts.  You and I are talking, and somewhere in the conversation I look at you and say, very kindly and sincerely,

“You know, I think you’re jealous.”

What’s your knee-jerk reaction?

Yeah, I thought so.

Nobody – nobody – wants to admit they’re jealous.  Jealousy is self-centered.  Possessive.  Fearful.  Insecure.

There is a rare form of healthy jealousy that motivates us to take positive action to protect right relationships, starting with our relationship with God.  But most of the time, truth be told, the only thing we’re protecting is ourselves.  Jealousy is the most deceptive emotion, and one of the most destructive.  Nobody does Hallmark Hall of Fame movies or Vacation Bible School stories about admirable jealous people.  To call someone jealous or to admit it is to expose some of the weakest expressions of character. 

In relationships, Jealousy looks at a person and says, in effect,

“I want you to find your fulfillment and happiness in me.”

“I want you to schedule your day around me.”

“I want you to find all your friendship in me.”

“I want you to plan for the future around me.”

“I want you to be successful with me, or because of me.”

“I can’t trust you to have other friends.”

“I can’t trust you to be alone.”

“I can’t trust you to make your own decisions.”

“I can’t trust you to be successful.”

The Sinister Side

In general, there are two forms of jealousy.  One says, “I want what someone else has.”  That’s bad enough.  The other says, “I wish they didn’t have what they have.”  That sort of jealousy is more than selfish; it actually desires evil for someone else. 

Two women came to King Solomon one day in a dispute over a baby.  Both claimed to be the child’s mother.  Solomon devised a way to know the true mother by suggesting that they cut the baby in half and each mother take half.  The true mother pleaded for the baby to be spared, even if it meant losing possession of him.  But everyone gets so excited about Solomon’s wisdom that they forget what actually caused the problem.  One mother had had a baby who had died, and she secretly exchanged him for the baby of a friend who was staying with her.   When Solomon offered his solution to the problem, this woman’s attitude was, “If I can’t have my baby, no one should have one!” That is jealousy in the worst form.

The Jealousy Test

Since nobody wants to admit they are jealous, here’s a little let’s-get-honest self-evaluation.  Don’t worry – I’m not peeking at your answers.

1.  Do you make the people you care about defensive of their actions or decisions?

2.  Does it bother you when the people you care about confide in someone besides you?

3.  Do you resent or criticize the friends of the people you care about?

4.  Do you question the sincerity of the people you care about when they say they care for you?

5.  Do you resent the fact that your spouse or someone else you care about really enjoys their work?

6.  Does it hurt you when the people you care about make decisions, however large or small, without consulting you?

7.  Does it bother you when someone you care about (or dislike, for that matter) achieves some success or approval that you don’t?

Maybe There’s a Better Way

So what’s the positive alternative to jealousy?          

First, before God, accept yourself.  Stop wishing you were, or were like, somebody else.

Second, practice contentment with gratitude.  Your happiness is not dependent on material possessions.

Finally, ask God for a heart of generosity.  I don’t mean just when the offering is being taken.  I mean that, with His love flowing through you, sincerely wish the best for other people, regardless of your own hurts or frustrations.

Okay.  I know you’re really not jealous.  But you may want to share this with somebody who really is.

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