Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Love is not jealous.

Jealousy is ugly. Plain and simple. It’s not something we usually own because of it’s mysterious way of spinning the web it creates around our hearts.

We have all experienced it, we have all been on the other end of it and we have all been on the starting line.

It’s not something we like to admit but when we do admit it’s there, honesty lifts the web off our eyes and it is then that we see clearly. Confession cleanses our own souls and our relationships.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

I have 4 kids. Jealousy is something that is inevitable in our home. Someone is always feeling like they got the short end of the stick. We try to be fair, dole out even amounts of time, attention, adoration, etc. but unfortunately someone will always end up feeling as though they were given less than especially when they can’t see what they have already been given.

We had a situation recently in which one of my girls had an opportunity to do something special and one of my other daughters sarcastically made snide comments about it under her breath. I knew where it was coming from but I wanted her to understand where it was coming from.

As a adults we let ourselves off the hook of jealousy, bitterness, resentment. We slough it off saying “I’m not bitter.” or “I’m not jealous.” Most people don’t regularly take a personal inventory of why they feel the way they feel but when toxic negative emotions crop up continually letting them be and ignoring in my experience never works out.

So I asked my daughter

“Why did you say that?”

I didn’t want her to feel bad, however I did want her to understand where her feelings were coming from so I could help her sort things out.

She said “I don’t know”

I know my kid and she’s incredibly insightful.  I knew she knew why she said it so I asked…”Are you jealous?”

“No.” she replied.

I replied “Oh, okay, so you’re happy for her?”

She then said “Okay, yes I am, I’m really jealous”.

We had a long conversation about how she got to do the exact same thing weeks ago. We talked about how her feelings were normal, but not helpful and then we got to the whole part about how…

“Love is not jealous”

I didn’t say that – the Bible did. I didn’t make that rule but it says that this is what love does look like and this is what love doesn’t look like. As we walked through what love looks like I felt just as convicted as she did. I love how God does that – every time my kids learn I learn more.

I don’t always love that way. I can remember countless times in my life where I was in fact jealous and bitter of people I loved. It sounds childish but I’m to old to pretend I’m not a human. I remember very specifically going through infertility and being so ugly green jealous of my friends who had children and had them so easily. I remember feeling so frustrated at myself. I remember wanting to be happy but my grief overrode my  ‘desire’ to be happy for them. I remember being angry that they got something I thought I should have. I remember feeling like God was ignoring me. I remember thinking they were receiving favor, better treatment, while I was being overlooked. I was being a huge brat but pain, resentment and bitterness will make you that way if you let it. And I let it.

Have you been there? Feeling overlooked? Feeling like someone got what you prayed for or dreamt of? Ever felt like you couldn’t genuinely be happy for someone because your heart aches for the gift they have received, something you felt certain should be yours? Ever felt like you were gritting your teeth pretending to be happy for someone.

Love isn’t jealous.

A jealous heart says God is holding out.

A jealous heart says I  haven’t been given what I deserve or am entitled to.

A jealous heart says Gods provision isn’t sufficient.

A jealous heart cannot love…well. Ouch. That one hurt. But its true.

My tale of my kids is a great example but kids aren’t the only ones who struggle.  We think it’s funny, or maybe even cute, when kids squabble and wear there hearts on their sleeves at least they are honest. As adults we could perhaps take some notes, we struggle there too.

Jealousy affects friendships

Jealousy affects siblings

Jealousy affects family members

Jealousy affects marriages

Jealousy affects ministry

Jealousy affects people in work environments

Jealousy affects how we look at life.

Jealousy infects our life.

We have all struggled with it a time or two and will again, but to recognize it, deal with it, own it and then hand over those natural human feelings and ask a perfect God to supernaturally change us and to make us into people who do love well, people who love like Him – that is freeing. That is what love does.

Love changes us….if we let it.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

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