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How to Overcome Jealousy Once and For All

How to Overcome Jealousy Once and For All

How to Overcome Jealousy Once and For All

Nothing can cripple friendships more quickly than jealousy. Thankfully, God has given us a no-fail plan to overcome jealousy once and for all.

Why is she getting that? She doesn't deserve it! I've been asking God for that for years. I'm the one who is over here working and sacrificing! She doesn't do half of what I do! God answers everyone's prayers but mine! I must be doing something wrong! Or she's the one doing something wrong! That's it. There's more to all these good things happening in her life! 

My thoughts overtook me as I got off the phone with a friend. She was moving into her forever house in the neighborhood I once commented to my husband was my "dream neighborhood." For months dissatisfaction had been growing with our house and neighborhood. Now my friend was getting what I wanted first.

This began a season of blessings for my friends and jealousy for me. Another friend sold her house and moved. One friend got her dream job. Another found out she was expecting her fourth baby.

As blessings abounded for my friends I felt like God had pushed the mute button on me. I cried out to Him with my desires, but I doubted he heard me. My prayers were not being answered, and my jealousy grew.

Jealousy ruins a friendship faster than any other emotion. As my friends shared with me the exciting things happening in their lives, I began to separate myself from them. It wasn't anything they did that caused me to distance myself, but the way I painted them in my mind. In an attempt to justify why I wasn't receiving the same blessings, I slandered their character and their circumstances - sometimes just to myself, but shamefully sometimes to others.

She must put a lot of pressure on her husband to buy that house. They must be in debt. Her relationship with her children must be awful since she never sees them. Their marriage must be in trouble. I don't know how she's going to take care of another baby when she struggles with the ones she has. They sure do serve themselves more than they serve others. It must be nice to have all that help. 

My jealousy led me down a road of sin and isolation before the Holy Spirit graciously convicted me and then gave me a task to do. He said:

Be your friends' biggest cheerleader!

As I thought about who in the Bible gives us an example of a person being a cheerleader for his friend, I thought about Jonathan and David. Jonathan was Saul's, the king of Israel's, son. He was the next in line to the throne. Then here comes David, the unlikely hero who saved the Israelites from the Philistines by killing Goliath. Jonathan had every reason to be jealous of David.

At first Saul favored David because of his accomplishments. Jonathan could have become jealous that his dad had an affection towards David. Jonathan could have seen David as a threat to his relationship to his father. He could have feared that Saul would end up loving David more since he was such a successful warrior.

Jonathan could have also become jealous knowing that Samuel had anointed David as king when Jonathan was the next in line to the throne.

But Jonathan did not become jealous. What did he do instead? He became David's biggest cheerleader.

We read in 1 Samuel 18:4, "And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt." Then later in 1 Samuel 19 we read that Jonathan did what was right and protected David against the wrath of his own father. The Bible tells us in verse four that Jonathan even "spoke well of David to Saul his father."

When the Holy Spirit prompted me to be my friends' biggest cheerleader at first I had to do what they call "fake it till you make it." When a friend told me good news about herself, my heart still dropped with that jealous feeling we're all familiar with. The difference was that I countered it with immediate, enthusiastic words of encouragement. I told my friend how happy I was for her, how I couldn't wait to see what happens in the future, and I asked her how I could help her.

I also celebrated her on social media when the occasion arose. Whether it was liking pictures of her new house or baby, leaving kind comments, or sharing her new business or ministry endeavor, I supported her publicly when it was appropriate.

Finally, I remembered to ask her about the blessing that had come into her life. I asked her questions and became genuinely interested in what was going on in her life.

Through this lesson with jealousy I learned that the faster I become my friends' cheerleader when blessings come into their lives, the faster I am able to overcome initial jealous feelings when they arise. Now even the initial feelings are seldom.

God has each of us on distinct paths for His glory. Jealousy causes us to miss the gift those paths are meant to give us. By focusing on our own path, we are able to see the goodness of God in it.

Brenda Headshot Brenda Rodgers considers herself a “recovering single” after years as a single woman chasing after marriage instead of chasing after Jesus. Now her passion is to mentor young women to live purposefully and grow in their relationship with God and others. Brenda has been married for five years to a heart transplant hero and is the mom of a toddler girl miracle. She is also the author of the eBook Fall for Him: 25 Challenges from a Recovering Single. You can also read more on Brenda’s blog, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.