Jealousy is commonly known as ‘the green-eyed monster’ for good reason; it is a monster that wreaks havoc on anyone who falls victim to its vicious attacks. There are various degrees of jealousy, from tinges of envy for another’s job, appearance, or talent to full blown jealous fits that causes separation of friends and couples and can even cause feelings of rage and ultimately murder.
Envy is a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to someone’s advantages, possessions, or traits such as beauty, success, or talent. In some cases, jealousy is the fear of losing what we have. We may feel vulnerable to losing the attention or feelings of someone close to us and feel we need to take measures to prevent that loss.
I recently witnessed a case where a husband could not advance on his job because his wife was jealous. She was afraid he would talk to the women who worked for him. Most of us have known a guy who was so jealous of his girlfriend that she was not allowed to talk to another guy, and sometimes she could not even talk to other girls. This kind of behavior can easily grow into a husband who controls every move of his wife, even to the point of physical, mental and emotional abuse. Females can be this way with her boyfriend as well.
This kind of abuse is not uncommon. When a man refuses to allow his wife to work and for no reason, comes home every day looking for signs that she has had a visitor, he has a problem. This same man will question her about any other man who looks at her or speaks to her. He will accuse her of wrong doing and cause her to fear him, making her life miserable. This kind of man will often call his wife frequently to check up on her. Many marriages have been dissolved because of such behavior.
Another common problem in this kind of situation is when the jealous spouse is unfaithful yet accuses the spouse of being unfaithful. Or the jealous spouse constantly reminds his mate of something that happened years before, but does not want to be reminded of his behavior from the past. It happens with both husbands and wives.
I have also witnessed cases of jealously in church congregations where people were envious when someone was asked to sing, or teach a class, or lead a program. This kind of jealously is mentioned in James 3:16: For where jealously and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
Usually people cannot recognize jealously when it has control of them. They will quickly deny the existence of this spirit and many times become angry at anyone who confronts them about it. It is common for a jealous person to accuse another of being jealous. This is called guilt transference.
Most of the time the only way to dispose of this wicked spirit is through God’s word and prayer. A person also needs to increase his or her self-esteem to guard against feelings of jealously and envy. When we realize that God created us in His image and that He loves us more than we can understand, then we know we have no reason to be jealous of anyone. No matter how we perceive ourselves, we have value as individuals and should never compare ourselves to anyone else.