Breaking Through Jealousy: Passing the Fire to the One Ahead

I’ve learned that the quickest thing that kills friendships is jealousy. Sometimes it’s a slow death; jealous people can act loving for a lifetime, but they waste their lives comparing to each other instead of helping each other out.

Jealousy can cut short the empowering work of friendship and all the joy and vision it brings forth.

I have two choices: I’m either your cheerleader or the loop of condemnation in your head. And I know which one I prefer to be around.

I just hate what jealousy does to people. The worst, most cutting words come from envy. Families, churches, and businesses rot from the inside. It causes even the nicest people to horde their own talents and hold others back, and they’d rather snuff out the torch then pass it on to a new generation. It turns us into small, shrewish versions of ourselves.

I’ve lost friends this way, and you can’t really call someone out on jealousy. It feels arrogant, and no one would confirm such a dirty accusation. No one confesses it, either. In my years of ministry, I’ve never heard someone tell me, “I’m just a jealous, insecure hater.” Have you ever said that in the mirror? Me, neither. You’ll hear about murder and drugs in the confession booth before envy. It blinds us into denial.

I’ve seen a lot of good friends get blown up when envy got a foothold. One friend would get successful in their field while the other stayed unseen, and the unseen friend starts to feel like their famous friend owes them. There’s a lot of fist-shaking at God and self-directed anger. It’s nasty stuff.

Preparation is half the battle. If you can name the demon, you have a better chance of beating it. Fighting sin means expecting the monster, and then tackling it in the doorway. It means laying down the worldly weapon to pick up a weapon of grace.

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