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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “Green isn’t Your Color”

Jealousy is a difficult thing to deal with and even more so to live with. It’s a good analogy to call someone “green with envy” or associate that color with jealousy, because it evokes a sense of a sickness, disease, or even a “rottenness” to a human being. And rightly so.

In Proverbs 14:30, the Bible reads: “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” Likewise, in Proverbs 27:4, the Bible cautions: “Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” Jealousy can make us hostile to friends and loved ones, to the point of not wanting to associate with them at all. Jealousy can cause us to withdraw and brood and nurse all sorts of occasions for hate and anger. And, in the worse case, jealousy can drive us to commit sin. It was jealousy that drove Cain to murder Abel. It was jealousy that caused Jacob to flee for his life from his brother Esau for years into a foreign land. It was jealousy that drove King Saul to hunt David relentlessly although he was his most faithful supporter, even to the point of refusing to kill him while he was on a manhunt for him…not once but twice. Unlike the type of hate for others that comes from anger, which might flare up and die with passions or cool over time, jealousy is of a different sort all together: slowly building and growing over time and finally coming out. And it can take all sorts of forms. Maybe a neighbor or friend enjoys good fortune that we miss out on. Or maybe we perceive that a family member is seen more positive than we are. Or someone at the office gets an award or promotion we feel we deserved. Basically it’s a form of “coveting”; seeing something we desire for ourselves, physical or non-physical, that we wish we had instead of them. Only it supplements it by directing our hate toward the individual who “has”.

The worst thing that can be done with jealousy is what Rarity was doing in regards to Fluttershy through much of this episode: trying to fool herself into thinking it didn’t exist and not talking about. Leaving it to herself, it was free to fester and grow and ruminate until she found herself opening wanting her friend to fail. A good way to let a sin keep control over us is to not admit it’s a sin in the first place, and therefore has no reason to be corrected. Jealousy works in the same way.

For example, I know a certain individual who has dealt with jealousy for her younger sister for years, feeling that she was the “favored” one by their parents and that she wasn’t given nearly the same benefits or privileges growing up. As a result, she constantly looks for times in which their parents seem to give them a bit more of an advantage or help (such as in loaning them the car or helping babysit her child or even the way they talk to one grandchild after another), and then she immediately blows up about how they “love her” more. It’s practically juvenile; like a child who gets two less jellybeans in their Easter basket than their sibling, but it’s true. And it’s because she won’t admit she’s jealous. It’s all justified to her because they wouldn’t have said that about her children or they wouldn’t have offered her the car if hers was in the shop… In other words, making excuses to keep on being jealous without admitting what it is. With some people, it might impact their entire lives.

So how do we resolve this “disease”?

First is by admitting that we’re jealous in the first place. One of Jesus’ most important things He said, in my opinion, was in John 5:6: “When Jesus saw him(an invalid) lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?'” Jesus was willing to heal everyone, but they had to admit they were sick in the first place. The same way with sin…Jesus is willing to forgive everyone, but only if they admit they’re sinning. So long as I keep making excuses for my jealousy I will never start actively doing my part to be rid of it. So, if I wonder if I’m being controlled by jealousy, a good starting point is to pray to God to confront me with the truth, no matter how ugly it might be.

Second is to understand that not everyone is the same. Not everyone gets the same luck or good fortune in life. Not everyone “sows their seed” in the same fields. Not everyone has the same needs. Not everyone is in need of “extra help”. Case in point…if there were two siblings in which one was blind, and the parents bought the blind sibling a seeing-eye dog, wouldn’t it be silly if the other sibling said they “favored” that child by not getting them a seeing-eye dog as well?

Third is to recognize what is just plain petty. I have no right to be jealous or make excuses of a neighbor who can afford a nice patio, for example, if I know for a fact they saved their money and made a plan while I was more loose with my own finances. Sometimes people get where they are by earning what they deserve, and there is no reason to hate that.

Fourth is to realize that we are all ultimately equal in the Eyes of God. Romans 2:11 lays it out clear as day: “For God shows no partiality.” In the Bible, it didn’t matter if you were a king, a priest, a prophet, a layman, a fisherman, a tent-maker, a physician, a tax collector, or a prostitute…all that mattered was if you were obedient to God in your own sphere of influence and carried out his Will when he called you to your purpose. Even if someone seems more gifted or able than us, whether in secular means or even in the ministry (for Church can also be a source of jealousy), realize that doesn’t invalidate you as a person. It doesn’t make you any “lesser” to God or mean that you can’t also be important to bring about the Kingdom.

And fifth, and finally, realize that while feeling jealousy might be beyond our control, how we recognize it and respond to it is fully our responsibility. Rarity showed a good example in this episode. After seeing her secret wishes that Fluttershy would fail seemingly come to life, she recognized her own jealousy and made a conscious choice, in spite of her feelings, to praise and applaud her friend. In the same way, if we’re consumed by jealousy for someone, it might be good to force ourselves to acknowledge their good work or good fortune and praise them for it. Make an “active stance” against our own negative inclinations and grow determined to do the right thing and not sin.

Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you for all of the blessings, both physical and non-physical, you have graciously bestowed upon me in my own life (name them). Please forgive me for times in which I have envied, coveted, or been jealous of others, and help me make an active stand against letting any jealousy dictate my actions. If I have harbored jealousy in my heart against others and refused to admit it before now, I do so at this time and ask for your forgiveness. And if I fear there may be jealousy lingering in my heart and tainting my actions and demeanor, please reveal it to me so that I can receive healing and forgiveness. Gratefully in Jesus’s Name, Amen.”