This week I wrote a prayer on the subject here on the blog and it was remarkable that there are many people dealing with this very bad feeling. So in today’s text we will better understand what it is to feel jealousy, how it arises, and what the Bible says about it.
To feel jealousy, in and of itself, is not a sign of sin or a problem. The word jealousy originates from the Latin zelúmen or, again, from the Greek zelosus. Its origins are related to the word zelos, which means fervor, heat, ardor, or intense desire. And the apostle Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13:4), says that “love does not burn with jealousy.
This jealousy spoken of in this passage is the Greek zelosus. Which can be both good and bad, in the good sense it can mean a “zealous care” that seeks the good, protection, welcome, integrity and happiness of the other person. God Himself expresses His zeal and care for those He has created, saying, “You shall have no other gods before Me. For I am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:3,5).
But unfortunately we live in a world corrupted by sin, which can cause affective and cognitive distortions to us. Therefore, by nature we are selfish beings and this reflects in the distrust of those around us and even of God. Bad jealousy generates suffering in relation to another person from whom we expect exclusive love. It is the fear that she will devote her affection to someone else.
When such a feeling arises for a real reason, it serves as a warning to have a dialogue in love, remembering that just as our relationship with God requires dialogue, so it is with our neighbor. A good example of this is that of a busy, inattentive, and even naive husband who does not perceive insinuations from another woman.
The wife, on the other hand, realizes the situation and can take action to warn the husband about the risk he is running of harming himself and the whole family. If the husband welcomes the warning, the problem is certainly solved. But if he sees it as something in his beloved’s head, or says that it is just her delirium, this feeling can worsen, causing damage to the couple’s relationship.
This same example above can also represent a pathological jealousy, when the jealousy of one of the spouses is unfounded, and one of the sides feels insecure because they do not trust the other and cannot believe in him or her, even in the face of proof of love, commitment, and fidelity.
Thus, normal jealousy is the zeal of people in relation to their love objects, whereas pathological jealousy is the disproportionate and distressing reaction to any threat to their love objects. Jealousy can become a nightmare of rules, conditions, and restrictions, which disgrace the life of both the person who feels it and its victim, to the point of literally destroying one’s own life or the life of another.
And how does jealousy arise?
Jealousy arises in our thoughts first, then we feed our imagination with bad things through our eyes and ears and we cultivate such thoughts that sometimes are not real, so this feeling comes up and then our behavior is dictated by it. The same goes for anger, anguish, envy, love, joy, and so many other feelings.
We can educate ourselves to have good feelings, which can be difficult, but not impossible, especially with the help of our Father who always wants the best for us. So I ask you: what occupies your mind? Lies or truths? What kind of programs are you watching? Does the music you listen to bring you good thoughts or only bad things?
We need to choose what is going to occupy our mind so as not to give way to the enemy, we need to understand who our influences in life have been and if they are good ones. In a time of social networks, we have to be very careful about what we expose ourselves to and how we react to such content.
How to get rid of bad jealousy?
The first step is to put what we are feeling into God’s hands, in prayer and fasting to discern whether it is valid or not, and how we should act towards it. The second step is to nourish our mind with truths instead of lies. It is estimated that we have from 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day, in fact it is a lot, and in the middle of it all there can be a lot of good things and a lot of nonsense too.
So select well what will permeate your mind, so that it will be a place of peace and not of war and anguish. You may be feeding a feeling that is only bad for you. If your jealousy is for lack of love, know that there is a God who loves you more than anything. If it is for lack of trust, keep your certainty in the One who will never fail.
Remember this feeling can come with the fear of the unknown too, so nothing better than the gentle conversation loaded with love so that there is no doubt.
God bless you!
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