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The only way to kill a monster is to chop off it’s head.
I’ve learned that the hard way when it comes to the green-eyed monster in particular. Jealousy isn’t a friend—it’s a life-threatening, life-sucking spirit that attaches quick and lingers long.
Part of his arsenal of tricks is that he pops out when you least expect it. It can be as simple as scrolling one post too far on Facebook, or as innocent as reading a text or answering a phone call.
Ignoring him is fruitless. He’ll set up a camp under your bed, make a home in your closet, and feed on your insecurities until he grows to three times his original size. Denial of his residence is the equivalent of giving him new address cards. You can’t pretend he’s not there.
Telling him to leave doesn’t work, either. You can talk until you’re out of breath, convincing yourself you’re not falling for his tricks and you’re not affected by his presence—all while he pops a few chocolate bon-bons in his mouth and asks for the remote control.
You have to cut off his head.
Remember, monsters don’t like the light. They prefer the dark—the shadowy corners of your fears, the far recesses of your mind, the dim edges of your memory. They hate being cast into the spotlight. Have you ever noticed that once you start talking about an emotional issue, especially a sinful one, the smaller it shrinks?
This goes back to 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we confess how we feel to the Lord and to another believer, we gain the clarity we need to have the right perspective again—and the monster shrinks.
Because yes—as painful as it is to admit it—jealousy is a sin.
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We tend to ignore that part, because we default to thinking of sin as the obvious stuff—adultery, getting drunk, telling lies. We forget that the foundation of jealousy is idol worship. Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Think about it. When you’re jealous of another woman’s Instagram-gym selfie, you’re making your body an idol. When you’re jealous that your boyfriend clicked “like” on another girl’s Facebook profile pic, you’re making your boyfriend a god.
That might seem extreme, but jealousy is never actually about what it appears to be about. You can be jealous of that girl’s picture and realize the root isn’t you’re begrudging her looking that way—it’s because you’re unhappy with your own body. You can be jealous of your co-worker’s brand new Coach bag, and it’s not because you’re hating that she has one—it’s because you’re feeling convicted about your own finances. You can be jealous of your boyfriend talking to a women you feel is prettier than you, and realize it’s not about her at all—it’s about your fear of losing the man you love.
All of which ultimately goes back to idol worship.
Relationships, material possessions, even family—all of those can be turned into gods if we aren’t careful. The desire for marriage, the desire for children, the desire for a new car or a better job or more money—all are idols if we focus on them more than Christ.
Jealousy is an arrow that flies toward one person, and ends up landing right back in your own heart. You’re the only one feeling the sting. So do you pluck it out immediately—or do you let the wound fester?
If your priorities and focus are where they should be—on the Lord and on His kingdom—your armor is going to be firmly in place and fewer arrows will find their mark. It’s not to say it’ll never happen—the enemy is sneaky. But when we’re walking with Jesus and keeping the perspective He wants us to have, then we’re much more likely to view other women as teammates, rather than competition.
The best way to behead a monster? Speak life until he can’t stand it anymore. Compliment that woman you used to feel threatened by. Not without sincerity—I’m not suggesting trading jealousy for lies. But find something you can honestly approach her on, and cast light into the shadows. You might go into the conversation thinking life is easy for her and she has it all—a fit body, an attractive husband, beautiful children, a fulfilling career—and realize that she’s much more like you than you thought. Broken, fearful, and insecure in her own ways.
This method works. I don’t know how many times I’ve done this—shone a flashlight into the dark corners and burned away the deceit, leaving me with a new friend or at the least, a peaceful heart that was no longer consumed by comparison, jealousy or fear.
Monsters like to deceive. In my experience, most of the time, what I was afraid of wasn’t even real. What I thought was happening was totally inaccurate. And what I assumed to be true about motivations was false.
She’s not perfect, and neither are you. The danger in comparison is that it leaves you feeling either superior or inferior—both of which equally harmful and consuming. So ditch the temptation to hold your selfie up to hers, your relationship next to hers, your car or purse or house next to hers, and instead, look at her as Christ does. You might have more to offer each other than you thought. All this time, it could likely be that she was feeling jealousy toward you in some way.
We need to team up with other Kingdom-minded women, rather than avoiding them out of assumption and insecurity. We need to stop viewing each other as threats, and call out the real enemy for who he is.
We need to stop fighting each other, and start fighting the real monsters—together.
Betsy St. Amant has a heart for three things - chocolate, new shoes and sharing the amazing news of God's grace through her novels. She lives in Louisiana with her adorable story-telling young daughter, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle Pringles. A freelance journalist and fiction author, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is multi-published in Contemporary Romance. Her newest novel LOVE ARRIVES IN PIECES releases via Zondervan Fiction in June 2015. When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to the Tangled soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing and can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. You can read more from Betsy at www.betsystamant.com and ww