“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” NLT
(I Corinthians 13: 4 – 7)
Love is not jealous. That’s the New Living Translation. The New International Version uses the word envy. Love does not envy. My first reaction to that characteristic is disbelief. Who would be jealous or envious of someone they love?
When our children were very young, I was jealous of my husband, and that didn’t create a very good atmosphere in our marriage. There was a lot of petty criticism on my part, and I became an expert at “suffering without saying anything” – how annoying is that! At the time I didn’t realize I was jealous. I thought the problem was that he was too busy and needed to spend more time with me and our young family. It was all his fault, of course.
Now that I look back, I realize that I was angry because I resented the fact that he got to go out to work every day, and his routines hadn’t changed. He got to have fun with the challenges of his job, and set his own schedule. I was at home, and discovering that parenting little ones creates chaos and fatigue. Putting it bluntly, I was jealous. The Bible tells us that jealousy or envy is a destructive quality. Proverbs 14: 30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones”. (NIV) A longer passage of scripture in James goes into more detail about the results of jealousy.
James 3: 13 – 18 NLT
“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honourable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favouritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”
So if you’re finding yourself grumbling to yourself about how easy life is for your partner or your friends, and how you seem to get the harder end of things, realize that love is not jealous, and that jealousy only leads to a worse situation.
Learn to pray all through the day. When you start feeling irritable with your partner or circumstances, breathe a prayer asking God to help you calm down and stay peaceful. Take a good look at what your expectations are. Are you actually feeling jealous because you think you have to carry the load on your own – or at least most of the load on your shoulders? Are you frustrated because things are not going the way you think they should? Take some time to think these angry feelings through, and pray about them. How do I need to change? Ask God for clarity and help.
1 Peter 5: 7 NLT
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
Our song for today is Our God is Love by Hillsong.