Have you ever noticed that people attempt to keep you in the gutter where you once were? We are left with a choice when the attack of jealousy enters our camp. We can let it burn our God-given purpose to the ground. However, if we want to rise up from where we came from, we can use at as fuel to light a fire that no man can extinguish. When we begin to turn a corner and start doing something different the haters begin their battle cry for blood. Our old patterns were predictable to them and as long as we stayed in our cage, they didn’t have to look at the things they would like to change but are too afraid of. Jealousy is rooted in fear of coming to terms with self and manifests in hatred, assumption, and anger.
Historical texts and events are strewn with many examples of how jealousy destroyed some and lifted others higher. Cain killed Abel because he was jealous of his brother’s standing with God as righteous. America’s Revolutionary War was laced in jealousy. The early colonists wanted freedom from British rule and the British wanted control and “their stuff.” Even Satan himself was once the most regarded angel in Heaven but wanted to sit in his Creator’s seat and thus, was cast down to Hell. The story of the Prodigal Son paints a vivid picture of this. The disobedient son, selfish and self-centered, wanted his inheritance immediately. His father gave it to him and he was off to spend it on booze, women, and pleasure. Until, one day he found himself broke, dirty, and desperate living in an actual pig pen. This “rock bottom” circumstance led him to come to his senses and return home, regardless of how he might be turned away for his behavior. Every day since the son left, his father waited for the son to return until that perfect day when he saw him walking toward home. The elderly father got up and ran to meet him. He held no record of his son’s disrespectful actions and ordered the best robe to be placed around him. He placed his ring on the son’s finger as a sign that he was still his son and he loved him above all the wrongs he had committed. He called for a feast to celebrate. This is where jealousy crept in. The other son who stayed home and obeyed his father got angry. How could you give him the best robe, ring, and have the prize calf slaughtered for the feast? I have always done right , he is the bad one. The Father loved each son equally, but the “good” one failed to see it due to his own pride and ego. How could you celebrate for this screwup? The father celebrated for his one son, once lost in darkness, for he was now being brought into the light.
Victor Hugo wrote one of the greatest pieces of classic literature ever, Les Misersbles. The main character, Jean Valjean was a prisoner at the beginning of the story. He was sentenced to 19 years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family. The commander of the prison, Inspector Javert, always had it out for Valjean. After he was released, Javert made it his life mission to prove that Valjean could never change and attempted to sabotage him everywhere he went. Valejean went on to build a good life, become a mayor, and a respected pillar of the community. The inspector’s jealousy fueled his burning desire to prove he was right and Valjean would always be a thief. Until one day many years later, Valjean had the chance to kill Javert but showed him mercy and grace instead. Immediately, upon learning he was pursuing the wrong thing all these years, he committed suicide. He couldn’t accept the fact that he was wrong and that a man can change, regardless what he has done in the past. Jealousy will destroy the person consumed by it.
Human nature hasn’t change since the first man walked the Earth. Adam and Eve walked with God in Eden, and it was perfect. They were given free will and one rule…don’t eat from that one tree. However, we know how the story ended. At the root, they were envious that God was God and they weren’t. For a brief moment, the temptation to “bend” the rule came along with curiosity, and we have been trying to get back to the Garden ever since. Evil entered the picture along with its symptoms of pride, jealousy, and anger to name a few, and little has changed since.
Regardless of what you have done in your past, you still have a future. If you woke up today, your life purpose isn’t fulfilled and you are still here for a reason. Even our closest friends and family will sometimes criticize us when they see us climbing out of the hole that we dug through our own poor choices and decisions. We slip off the ladder when we waste time engaging with these people. We can love them and wish them well, but in order to move forward sometimes we cannot allow certain folks to join on our journey. One negative influence can pull us off the balance beam that we are now walking. Just remember, how others react to your success or your failures has little to do with you and everything to do with them. For too long you have been listening to what others think about you. As long as you aren’t harming anyone, be you and do it unapologetically. They may try to bring up the past but you don’t live there anymore. Moses murdered, Noah got drunk, David had an affair, and God still used them to do great things. In fact, He does his best work with broken things. Allowing yourself to be humbled by your circumstances allows God to do a great work within you, if you let him. If they are jealous and talking about you consider it a compliment for they are more interested in your blessings than the ones in their own lives. Are you going to allow the heat of jealousy to destroy you or mold you? The hotter the fire, the brighter the beacon. Shine bright!