Question: Fighting The Destruction of Envy

Anonymous asked:

Hi jspark! Thank you for your blog it has helped me multiple times.I also wanted to ask you about envy and jealousy b/c I feel like its become a big problem in my life. I believe that because of this many of my friendships have been lost or turn into frenemies. Or it becomes the fuel for people around me to do horrible things. How do I deal with envy and how do I deal with someone being envious of me? How do I redirect this emotion to God and into something more positive and meaningful? Thank you! 🙂

Hey there dear friend, thank you for your kind words, and thank you for even asking help with this.  Most people do not recognize jealousy in the mirror because it’s hard to see, but also because it’s tough to admit that we’re jealous.  We would rather admit just about anything — anger or lust or materialism or murder — before we say “I’m just a hater troll.”

Please allow me the grace to point you first to some previous posts. As always, you may skip around or skip them all.

– Jealousy vs. Generosity: A Generation Held Back

– Jealous Haterade Downgrade: Death By Nitpicking

– A Culture of Competition and Comparison

– Why Did God Make Emotions? A Mega-Post

I’ve found two major difficulties on both sides of this:

1) It’s not easy to admit jealousy because it confirms a “weakness” that we’re somehow not as “good” as someone else.

2) It’s not easy to admit we’ve been a victim of a jealous person because it sounds like we’re backdoor bragging.  It sounds condescending when someone says, “They’re just jealous of me.”

But here’s something quite interesting I’ve found too:

1) We’re usually not jealous of someone who is ridiculously good at something.  We’re not jealous of Mozart or Einstein or Shakespeare.  We usually get jealous of those who are slightly better than us at something.

2) Even though no one likes to say, “They’re jealous of me” — we get destroyed by jealous people all the time, simply for the fact that almost no one admits that jealousy is controlling their destructive passive-aggressive behavior.  We call it other things, like rebuke or real talk or “keeping an ego in check.”

So then: Jealousy is a secret sneaky devilish sort of disease that kills everyone under the radar and is almost never consciously diagnosed by anyone.

To treat the disease: It requires a huge dose of self-awareness, humble community, and confrontational conversations.  It will never be completely cured.  Our reflex is to naturally be jealous.  It’s okay when you feel it: but what matters then is how you handle it.  It’s only not okay when jealousy manifests into destructive patterns of gossip and casual dismissal and intentionally holding others back from their potential.

Now here’s why I so strongly believe in Jesus.

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