Everybody has problems with jealousy over somebody or something at SOME time in their life. Jealousy is a universal problem, and to be jealous is a natural part of Man's sinful nature. Of course, it's usually not until we feel threatened or afraid of losing a loved one's attention or love that we begin to feel jealous.
Let's face it, as much as we say we're jealous over someone "because we love them", we're usually only jealous for SELFISH reasons. Jealousy really boils down to selfishness, pride and possessiveness. Though we may not often put our jealousy so bluntly into words, the feeling is that, "They are MINE!--Nobody else's! I deserve them and nobody else can have them! I'M the ONLY one that has a right to them!"
While it may be true that God has put you together with someone, and you have a very special relationship of love together, it is certainly not right--nor loving--to insist that they find total satisfaction of heart, soul and emotional needs in YOU ALONE! The truth is that the one you love needs other people in their life also, and as a Christian, has a debt of love to pay to their fellow man, not just to you alone.--"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this, thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself."--Galatians 5:14. Others need a certain amount of their time, their attention, their thoughts and their love.--And this is ESPECIALLY true in the LORD'S Work!
In society today, jealousy is often considered a virtue. Though we realise that there must be something wrong with SEVERE cases of jealousy where lovers kill one another in a fit of jealous rage, on the whole, we have been brought up to think that jealousy is a natural and acceptable part of love for someone.--That if we love someone and they love us, they belong EXCLUSIVELY to US and we then have a RIGHT to be jealous over them should they show any kind of consideration or interest or--in our opinion-too much love to someone else.
Jealousy and possessiveness, many people think, are simply an awkward manifestation of "the wonderful love that binds people together". This attitude is very WRONG. Jealousy in the sense that we want to selfishly possess and keep our loved ones completely and exclusively to ourselves is NOT a virtue, according to the Word of God! It is a SIN!
The Bible says, "Let us NOT be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, ENVYING (being JEALOUS of) one another."--Galatians 5:26. "A peaceful heart is the life of the flesh: But ENVY (jealousy) is the ROTTENNESS of the bones!"--Proverbs 14:3O. Jealousy is ROTTENNESS and is bad for not only our MENTAL and EMOTIONAL state, but, as science has proven, strong negative emotions are even bad for our PHYSICAL state of health!
Jealousy and envy also make life hell on Earth for OTHERS! "Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before ENVY (jealousy)?"--Proverbs 27:4. Jealousy invariably hurts people around us, especially those we say we love the most. "Jealousy is CRUEL as the GRAVE: The coals thereof are coals of FIRE, which hath a most VEHEMENT flame."--Song of Solomon 8:6. Jealousy can also drive people into an insane rage, so that they MERCILESSLY seek REVENGE: "Jealousy is the RAGE of a man: therefore he will NOT SPARE in the day of VENGEANCE!"-Proverbs 6:34.
Finally, the Bible gives this warning about jealousy and envy, saying: "For where ENVYING and strife is, there is confusion and EVERY EVIL WORK."--James 3:16. This is a point worth remembering: That a spirit of "envy" (a word which the Bible uses interchangeably with "jealousy") opens up your heart, your mind and your life to the confusion of the Devil and "EVERY evil work"!
The Devil is "the ACCUSER of the BRETHREN" (Revelation 12:1O), and when you're in a jealous spirit, the Devil whispers his lies against others in your ears and plays upon your selfishness and fears. If you give heed to such lies, soon every little thing done by the one you're jealous of will take on a meaning which was never intended at all! You're likely to find yourself getting insanely jealous even over small, imaginary things to the point that your loved one can hardly do ANYTHING to suit you! Most of the time, jealousy EXAGGERATES things so much that they seem much worse than they really are, to the point where insanely jealous people get jealous if someone even LOOKS at their partner!
That's the Devil's tactic, to blow things up as big as a mountain!--And if you listen to him long enough, it will get you totally discouraged, confused and feeling sorry for yourself!--Or, worse yet, cause you to explode in a volcano of selfish, hateful, spiteful emotions against the one or ones you feel are "hurting" you!
We get jealous when we feel that we're not being shown the love and consideration and attention that we think we DESERVE! When we're selfishly thinking of only our own personal happiness and frustrated desires, it causes us to complain. We feel like, "I deserve to be treated better. I'm being mistreated. I'm being abused." So jealousy is really a spirit of complaint which is the result of a selfish attitude.
The selfish believe they deserve more than others, therefore they're unwilling to share. They feel like they've got a right to it ALL. "Nobody else deserves to have ANY of their time and love. I should have it ALL!" This is a very real problem, because it is the inborn, sinful nature of Man to be selfish and try to keep what we think is ours strictly to ourselves, when REALLY, as a Christian, all we have belongs to JESUS.
Remember, our loved ones are NOT just "ours". They belong to the LORD first and foremost! All true Christians, the Bible says, are married to JESUS (Romans 7:4), therefore we and our loved ones owe our FIRST loyalty, love and devotion to HIM. Our relationship with the Lord must take precedence over any human relationship or marital bonds. (See the article "Jesus First".) When you are CHRISTIANS, and you both are supposed to be serving the Lord and trying to win others to Jesus, it's pretty selfish to begrudge, complain about or be jealous of time that your mate spends showing love and attention to others! After all, that's what WITNESSING and winning SOULS is all about!
As mentioned in a previous paragraph, a lot of times jealousy can be absolutely unfounded. You may be totally misinterpreting your mate's actions or motives, and as a result, you begin worrying and fearing that they are seeking love elsewhere, and that they therefore don't love you as much anymore.--But the whole thing may be just in your imagination! If you YIELD to this type of jealousy and fear, the Devil will play up your fears, tell you all kinds of lies and get you totally obsessed and make every tiny matter a major incident.
Some wives, for example, constantly worry that their husband is having an affair with his secretary, and go into an emotional tailspin if he even shows his secretary common courtesy, kindness, or appreciation for all of her hard work. This kind of unreason able jealousy is a result of a LACK of TRUST in the one you love.--As well as a lack of trust and resting in the LORD.
The SOLUTION is to pray desperately and to ask the Lord to DELIVER you from such a negative, fearful spirit. Don't give in to it! REBUKE it in Jesus' name every time you are tempted to fall prey to it! If you are not strong enough to resist it on your OWN, then confess your trial and spiritual battle to OTHERS and ask them to pray WITH you to set you free from its grip! "Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another. RESIST the Devil and he will FLEE from you!"--James 5:16; 4:7.
Of course, HONEST COMMUNICATION with the one you love is essential. Be honest and humble enough to tell them if you are fighting feelings of jealousy. When you openly discuss it, you give them the opportunity to dispel your fears and the Enemy's lies and to explain whatever it was that made you suspicious in the first place.
If you find out that your MATE is having problems with jealousy over YOU, try to be as loving and considerate as you can. You should try to make it as easy for them as possible. Imagine what it would be like if YOU were in their position, then "do to them as you would want them to do to you."--Matthew 7:12. Show them as much love as you can, constantly reassuring them that you love them. Keep loving and praying for them and being considerate and sympathetic.
The next question is, what are you to do if what you fear does come to pass, and you find out that your husband, wife or lover actually HAS gotten involved or fallen in love with someone else? What should you do if you find yourself in such a position? Of course, every situation is different, and a lot depends on the individuals involved, but here is some basic advice:
If you love your husband or wife enough to permit them to have another person in their life besides yourself, then the problem is greatly diminished; but if not, jealousy can literally tear your HEART--as well as your HOME--apart! Because most people do NOT have that much unselfish love, jealousy has broken up more marriages than can be numbered! Usually people in such circumstances either divorce and tear the home and family apart, or else they keep their marriage together in name only, as a matter of social convenience or necessity, but wind up bitter, cold and unfeeling towards one another.
It's really TRAGIC how so many people allow jealousy, envy and pride to absolutely ruin their relationships and even their lives! On the other hand, genuine love, mercy, forgiveness, openness and understanding have salvaged many a relationship that would have otherwise been destroyed by jealousy and pride once a mate discovered that their partner has gotten intimately involved with someone else. The Bible says, "LOVE BEARS all things, love BELIEVES all things, love HOPES all things, love ENDURES all things.--Love NEVER fails!"--1Corinthians 13:8. If people who find themselves in such a situation would just look to the LORD and cry out to HIM for His help and guidance, He could give them the faith, strength, love and understanding they need in order to resolve their marital problems.
The Bible tells us, "Love covers a MULTITUDE of sins" (1Peter 4:8), and a large measure of love and understanding is definitely the KEY to solve any problems regard ing our personal relationships. But for the mate who feels betrayed or offended to say that they cannot FORGIVE or understand is to say that they don't have real love, the LOVE of GOD!--Because the divine, supernatural, miraculous, infinite, marvellous LOVE of GOD is love enough to FORGIVE! In fact, forgiveness IS Love! Jesus Himself said following the Lord's Prayer: "If you cannot forgive men THEIR trespasses, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you YOUR trespasses!"--Matthew 6:15.
So for GOD'S sake, your LOVED ONE'S sake, and even your OWN sake, count the cost before throwing your entire relationship away in an angry moment of pride or jealousy! Jesus said, "I prefer MERCY and NOT SACRIFICE!"--Matthew 9:13. How much better to mercifully FORGIVE and try to UNDERSTAND your "erring" mate, than to dutifully divorce and self-righteously condemn them!--"He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone!"--John 8:7. (For a study on God's forgiveness, mercy, grace and Love, see "God's Law of Love".)
But sad to say, most people today do not seem to be able to wisely and lovingly deal with such problems when confronted with them.--Which is why the only GENUINE SOLUTION is to take the situation to the LORD in PRAYER! If you are saved, then you are the LORD'S child, and you know that He LOVES you. He CARES for you more than any one else will ever be able to!
No matter HOW much something may hurt you, no matter HOW difficult you feel your situation is, if you pour out your heart in prayer to Jesus about it, He can give you PEACE in place of confusion, anger or turmoil! (See Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 119:165.) If you truly trust and love the LORD, then you can have the faith that, in His infinite wisdom, He has ALLOWED it to happen for some reason. The Lord often lets things like this happen to draw us closer to Him. Everything that comes into your life is part of His plan, difficult though some things may seem at times. He says, "ALL things work together for GOOD to them that love God."--Romans 8:28.--Even THIS! (See "All Things Work Together for Your Good".)
Here are some beautiful promises from the Word of God which you can claim: "I sought the Lord and He heard me, and DELIV ERED me from ALL my FEARS."--Psalm 34:4. "Cast your CARES and BURDENS upon the LORD, and HE shall sustain you; He shall never allow the righteous to be moved."--Psalm 55:22. "Cast ALL your cares on Him, for HE CARES for YOU."--1Peter 5:7.
In some cases it might be beneficial if you were to ask yourself if YOU could possibly be partially responsible for the situation, because you were not sweet, considerate or loving enough to your mate, and they felt they had to look elsewhere to find the genuine love, tenderness and emotional-as well as physical--fulfilment that they needed. If so, the Lord could be allowing this situation to happen to teach you more sacrificial love and consideration, and even to draw you closer to your mate in GENUINE love and appreciation.
On the other hand, if you have done your best in your relationship, but your mate still feels the need for other intimate involvements, you should still try to adopt an UNDERSTANDING attitude. Let's face it, it's not infrequent that people who work together or see each other often are attracted to one another. But WHATEVER the reason for your mate's getting involved with someone else, your being jealous and demanding and possessive is not going to help the situation.-Because if you try to selfishly control your mate and angrily accuse them, you will usually only drive them further AWAY from you.
That's why you HAVE to be able to take it to the LORD in PRAYER, because only HE has the solution! You have to turn to Him and His Word to give you the strength and faith and trust needed in this situation! His Word is a tremendous comfort in times of deepest trial! If you need more faith, read, cling to and memorise His Word, and He will give you more faith!--Romans 10:17.
If you try to just bear it yourself, it could drive you CRAZY or cause you to become HATEFUL and BITTER toward your mate.--And if you let BITTERNESS fill your heart, it can wreck your life, your marriage, your children's lives, your future and even your relationship with God Himself! The Bible warns us, "BEWARE lest any root of BITTERNESS spring up and trouble you, and thereby DEFILE MANY!"--Hebrews 12:15.
Instead of hastily destroying your rela tionship in a fit of bitter rage and jealousy, cry out to the LORD in DESPERATE PRAYER, and ask Him to give you the LOVE, FORGIVENESS and UNDERSTANDING to overcome this situation. None of us have that kind of love on our own, nor do we have that kind of forgiveness or understanding. But JESUS does, and He will give it to you if you will sincerely seek Him and call upon Him for help with ALL of your heart. He has promised, "PEACE I leave with you; MY peace I give unto you; I do not give to you as the World gives to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."--John 14:27. "The PEACE of GOD, which passes all understanding, shall GUARD your HEARTS and minds in Christ Jesus."--Philippians 4:7.
Remember, you belong to JESUS.--And your MATE, if they are saved, belongs to Him also. So WHATEVER the situation, both of your lives are in HIS hands, and He is allowing this test to somehow draw you closer to Him. When you realise that your mate does not belong exclusively to YOU, but belongs to the LORD first of all, then it becomes easier to trust that the LORD is going to work things out and have His perfect way in both your lives! What it boils down to is that you've simply got to love and trust the LORD!
A fitting illustration of the difference between genuine unselfish love and jealous possessiveness is brought out in the following Bible story:
Two women appeared before wise King Solomon one day, each claiming and insisting that a newborn child was hers. King Solomon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, put them to the test by ordering the child to be cut in two and half given to each woman. When the woman who was the REAL mother of the child heard this, her heart burst with love for her baby, and totally abandoning her own happiness and claim to the child, cried out, "Please, my lord! Do not kill him! Give HER the baby!--Only please let it LIVE!"
The OTHER woman who was NOT really the mother of the child, when she heard the King's order, said, "Yes! Cut him in two! If I can't have him, then NEITHER of us shall have him!" Hearing these two women, Solomon turned to the soldier standing there with his sword upraised and commanded: "Do not kill the baby! Give him to the FIRST woman, for SHE is the mother!"--1Kings 3:16-28.
Which of those two women are YOU like? Are you so concerned with your own selfish happiness and fulfilment that you'd rather KILL the one you say you love rather than let them share their time, their love and their attention with others? Or are you TRULY in love with them? Do you have so much love for THEM that you are more concerned about THEIR happiness than your OWN, and would be willing to give them up--at least temporarily--if that is what would make them happiest and most fulfilled?
That's the way Solomon found out who really DESERVED the baby! The one who really deserved it was the one who LOVED it so much that she was willing to give it up to preserve its life so that at least the BABY could be happy and live! But the one that DIDN'T really love the baby and WASN'T the true mother didn't really care about him, only herself, and would rather kill the baby than let anybody else have it!--And as a result, she LOST the child!
Proud, selfish and jealous people would rather kill or hurt their loved one than let anybody else have them--which shows and proves they DON'T have REAL love, Christian love, the Love of JESUS! They really love only THEMSELVES! Now YOU might not outright physically kill the one you're jealous of, but "envy is the rottenness of the bones" just the same, and will slowly but surely poison and eat away at your relationship. Every little hurtful remark or comment, every bit of pouting, complaining or accusing, or just outright coldness and rejection or withholding of your affections, will work toward destroying and killing your relationship, as will all the other little things that jealous people feeling sorry for themselves do to attract attention and sympathy.
Almost invariably, jealous people try to do something in RETALIATION to HURT the one they say they love: If their loved one won't do what they want them to, and if they cannot coerce or dominate and control them, they usually resort to deliberately and defiantly doing something that they know will hurt them or make them suffer just to "get even" and make them feel bad!
That's what you are doing when you complain that the one you love is showing too much love or attention to others, and murmur that they don't love you any more. In the long run, you'll kill the one you say you love!--At least you'll kill their love for you, their faith in you, and maybe even their faith in themselves!
But whether you have a problem with extreme jealousy or just "mild" jealousy, if you allow it to continue unchecked, it could become a very, very serious problem. When people are constantly jealous--especially when it develops into an uncontrollable rage--it's no longer just selfishness and temper; it's SPIRITUAL, and is caused by an evil spirit! Did you know that there are DEMONS of jealousy? There ARE!--And they have driven people absolutely stark raving mad with jealousy! Demons of jealousy have inspired people to actually MURDER those they claim to "love"!
But everybody has SOME jealousy. So just because you're a little jealous doesn't mean you have a DEMON of jealousy. But when it gets to a certain point where you just allow jealousy to completely take you over, then a demon can get control and you can lose control and even become violent and hurtful to the one you're jealous of! So "give NO place to the Devil"!--Ephesians 4:27. Remember, even if you're naturally inclined to be jealous, you CAN CONTROL it!--Especially if you're a CHRISTIAN! "You can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens you!"--Philippians 4:13.
Sometimes jealousy can be a real SPIRITUAL force, and can have a strong hold on people, binding them in its chains, and they can't seem to get freed from it. If you've been in the habit of yielding to jealousy for a long time, you may not be able to get rid of it by praying by yourself, so you may need OTHERS to pray FOR you and WITH you to help you get freed from its grip. If you can't get the victory over it by just asking the Lord for help and by quoting Scriptures and talking to others about it, then it may require a Scriptural "laying on of hands" and desperate united prayer, as the Bible instructs us in James 5:14-16. (See a sample prayer for deliverance at the end of the "Overcoming Vices!" article.)
Once you realise that jealousy is not of God, and you turn to the Lord for strength and help to fight and resist it, then it's within your power to REFUSE to have the problem, and to say, "I REBUKE you, Satan, get OUT of here! I'm NOT going to yield to you and your evil thoughts!" It's a matter of whether you sincerely WANT the victory or not, and are willing to FIGHT the Enemy and his lies and fears and exaggerations!
God can deliver you from the demonic iron grip and bondage of jealousy. That is not to say that after prayer for deliverance you won't have occasional battles with it, since jealousy is a common weakness which often will try to rear its ugly head again.--But you will of your own free will, be able to refuse to yield to it. It will no longer CONTROL you. YOU can control IT!-With PRAYER and the WORD!--"If the Son (Jesus) shall set you FREE, you shall be free INDEED!"--John 8:36.
Someone once asked the wife of the famous evangelist, Billy Graham, if she wasn't jealous of her husband's time and attention, considering how he was away so often, and often gone for long periods of time, showing God's Love to others. She very wisely answered, "I'd rather have a LITTLE bit of BILLY than a whole LOT of someone ELSE!"
Do YOU have that much love, that you're willing to share your mate with God and His service?--So, like Mrs. Graham, you can say, "I'd rather have even a LITTLE bit of him than a whole lot of someone else"? If so, God will bless you!--Because that's REAL Christian love!
May God bless and strengthen you with His wonderful Love!--And FREE you from jealousy!--In Jesus' name, amen!