The flip sides of jealousy

Column Post by Lisa Easterling

Lately I’ve been studying the topic of jealousy, and the stark difference between being jealous of, and jealous for another person.

Jealousy for someone’s best is of God. Jealousy of someone’s best is of the enemy.

My study guide asks if the reader is jealous for someone’s best, and if so, whose? What are the results? The answer I wrote is my husband, Steve. He is an amazing man, and I wish others could know his heart on a deeper level. I’ve been blessed beyond words by his presence in my life, and the people who have told us of the blessing he’s been to them are too numerous to count. There are few people who have met him who have not emerged better for that knowing.

The converse also begs to be answered within the individual heart: Are you jealous of someone’s best? Whose? How is it playing out in your life? What are the results?

Which brings me back to Steve. I’ve seen people’s jealousy of him cause them to treat him in terrible ways. It breaks my heart even now to think back on it. And the worst part is that some of the most mean-spirited things that have been said to him were said by a church elder and a pastor. Instead of allowing themselves to be enriched by this dear man of God, they allowed jealousy to rip apart relationship and stifle growth and benefit. It’s horribly sad, and is made even worse by the lasting effect it has had on Steve in making him wary of getting close to anyone and opening his heart in deep friendship. While I rejoice that his best friends are his family members, I also wonder what kind of blessing he could be in male friendship had he not been scorched by the flames of others’ jealousy.

And you, my friend? Have you been scorched by the flames of jealousy? Were you jealous, or was someone jealous of you?

Have you ever been jealous for someone? Has anyone ever been jealous for you? What did that look like?

Jealousy makes relationship unsafe. A beautiful friend and I were talking recently about this, about how it is difficult if not impossible to “go deep” with someone who regularly feels threatened by your blessings, your accomplishments, your talents and gifts. Putting it out there with someone knowing it will probably only anger them is daunting. Being jealous for someone makes all the difference. It validates and connects.

Can we learn from this? Can we make ourselves and our relationships safe places where others are celebrated in what God is doing in and through them, where we are truly, genuinely delighted for them?

If jealousy of kills, then certainly jealousy for breathes life.

May we all live to breathe life and beauty and encouragement into those around us.

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P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to comment below. Each of our commenters will be entered in a drawing for our current FREE book giveaway, Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship by author Teena Stewart. 

Lisa Easterling is a lifelong resident of the Tampa Bay area alongside her husband Steve, five children, and two grandchildren. A pioneer for home education in Florida, she has served in various areas of Christian ministry for the past 32 years. Lisa is a lifelong writer, editor, creative writing coach, and Site Director for Write Where It Hurts. Her favorite place to write is near the ocean, and she particularly loves helping others to fall in love with words. Lisa blogs at www.lisaeasterling.com and can be reached by following @writepraylove on Twitter or emailing blue@lisaeasterling.com.

Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)

2 thoughts on “The flip sides of jealousy

  1. I had some painful experiences in my former church where my sister who invited me to join that church, which I did. Several people showed jealousy and made cruel remarks when I began to use my talents and gifts. It stole my joy, and I eventually left, also my personal life was in crisis. I am not in church at this time, I felt ostrasized, and unsupported by my older sister, and her friends. I am still sufferring from depression for many reasons, and have many struggles about church, and my direction in life after a second divorce from an emotionally, and verbally abusive husband. I feel blessed by your site, because I have been writing since I was a child to express myself, and talk to God. I still write at 56, and want to write always. God bless you for being so supportive of those who need Christian women in their lives.

    • That must have been a tough situation to walk through, Yolanda. I’m so sorry for that. I feel certain people don’t realize the far-reaching effects their words and actions have on others, and when jealousy is the motivation behind harsh behavior it adds more jagged teeth to an already destructive monster. You are in my heart and in my prayers, dear friend. I pray God continues to heal the wounds and fill the empty places left by your experience, and that He grants you the motivation and the ability to word it all out and leave it in His capable hands. I wish you love and a keen awareness of the beauty of this holiday season as you prepare to celebrate our Savior’s birth.

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