02 April 2010
Jealousy is so unbecoming…
According to dictionary.com, jealousy can be defined in four ways. Here are the top two: 1. jealous resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another's success or advantage itself; and 2. mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims.
I’ve been thinking a lot about jealousy lately – and the things that I find myself being jealous of. A friend’s new romantic relationship. The pomp and circumstance of another friend’s wedding. Another friend’s recent vacation to an exotic beach location. A friend who scored tickets to a hot NYC concert. The hug that one friend got from the cute attorney who used to work in the Atlanta office, but has now been transferred to another office location in the firm. That house. That car. Her clothes and hair and athletic, fit and nauseatingly skinny body. That seemingly carefree lifestyle with little or no – ok, without my personal responsibilities, cares and woes. Yeah, I’ve been feeling a little jealous lately about a lot of people and a lot of trivial things.
But upon close examination, my jealous feelings are not (necessarily) about wanting those things listed above: I have no desire to put in the work necessary to make a relationship work. And some exotic beach vacations come with sunburn, weird foods, and scratchy hotel sheets. Those concert tickets might be nosebleed seats where the acoustics are bad. Bigger cars and houses come with larger car payments and utility bills. I KNOW there are drawbacks to every scenario – the grass may look greener, but the water bill to keep that grass green may be higher than I want to pay. Deep down, where it counts, I KNOW all that. But it still doesn’t stop the moments where I feel my skin turning green and my thoughts turning … well, evil.
Saul had this same problem with that young upstart, David. I mean, here he is … king of Israel. The first one, at that. He was specifically chosen to lead the children of Israel when they decided God wasn’t leader enough and they wanted / desired / needed a king of their own so they could be like all the other nations around them. (SIDEBAR: Weren’t the children of Israel called to be different, though – didn’t I read somewhere that they were supposed to be a “peculiar” people? How you gonna be “peculiar” if you just like everybody else? Hmmm…let me get back to you on that one.) Anyway, so here’s Saul, sorry…here’s King Saul – in his palace, feeling like the great one that he is, when he hears the women out in the courtyard singing, “Yeah, Saul is great and all that, but David…now he’s the MAN!” The Bible says that Saul was “tormented” when he heard this and at that moment, began to plot against David. In other words, his “jealousy” of David moved him to think evil thoughts and eventually led him to begin to plot David’s murder. Wow.
Don’t condemn Saul too much. After all, he wasn’t the first Biblical character to feel this way. It started in heaven. Lucifer was jealous of Michael (Jesus). It wasn’t enough that he was the covering cherub and spent every day in the very presence of God. He got all bent out of shape because he wasn’t in the “inner” circle with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. When the Godhead was planning creation, he wasn’t included in the conversation and it ate at his soul. When the plan of salvation was being formed, he wasn’t offered the role of Savior and Redeemer and this made him angry. So he began to plot to “murder” Jesus. Ok, sure: in heaven, it was just the assassination of Jesus’ character, but when that didn’t work and he got booted out of heaven and banished to earth, when he saw his opportunity, he did murder Jesus. Hung Him on a cross, between two thieves, on Golgotha’s hill. His jealousies in heaven led to death here on earth.
Now, I am probably not going to "take out" any of my friends because they drive a better car, live in a bigger house, go home with a fine man every night. (Probably not – let’s pray to that end!) But if I harbor too many of those thoughts for too long a period of time, it will affect me from the inside out and may manifest itself in outwardly harmful actions.
There is a saying, a portion of which states: Be mindful of your thoughts for they become actions. Jealous thoughts harbored and revisited over and over again, can lead to actions with disastrous results. Is it really worth it? Ask Saul – he eventually lost his mental capabilities and the kingdom. Ask Lucifer. It might look like he’s winning right now, but the Bible tells me that he is already a defeated foe – it’s just a matter of time. I don’t think it’s worth it, do you?
© 2010 Kristina E. Smith
Friday, 02 April, 2010