Friday, June 4, 2010

Righteous Jealousy

One of the many things that our modern society seems to have messed up, is how we view jealousy.

Newsflash: jealousy is not bad.
Did you hear that? Jealousy is not a bad thing. It's not! It's really not!

The best example of this? Our God is a jealous God! And God cannot do bad things, right? So then how can jealousy be bad? It can't!

Jealousy is not bad! Which means.... are you ready for it?... jealousy is good!
I know. This sounds crazy to some of you. But bear with me.

Jealousy has several accepted definitions, listed here, courtesy of

1.jealous resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another's success or advantage itself.
2.mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims.
3.vigilance in maintaining or guarding something.
4.a jealous feeling, disposition, state, or mood.
So, let me walk you thru it. I'll be using the marriage relationship as my example, but it can be changed to apply to pretty much anything.

Look at the third definition: "vigilance in maintaining or guarding something".
So, if you are vigilant in guarding something, and you perceive a threat to that something, then this will result in definition #4, "a jealous feeling".
From that jealous feeling, if the threat is not squashed immediately, you will naturally proceed to the second definition: "mental uneasiness from suspicion..."
And finally, if that threat manages to succeed in attacking what you are guarding, maybe even wins a battle or two, the natural reaction is to have "jealous resentment" towards that threat.

Did you follow that path? Got it?

So you see, jealousy, in and of itself, isn't bad at all. It means you care. You care enough to be vigilant. You care enough to guard what is important to you. You care.

I think what happens oftentimes is that we have mistaken being jealous, for coveting.

Covet, you say? What is covet? Sounds familiar, but... what is it again?

Well, probably sounds familiar because it is one of the Ten Commandments:
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."  --Exodus 20:17

The definition of covet, again courtesy of

–verb (used with object) desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another's property.
–verb (used without object) have an inordinate or wrongful desire.

I like the first definition, "without due regard for the rights of others". In other words, you are selfish. You want what you want, and you don't care who gets hurt in the process.

So, back to our marriage example.

I am jealous for my husband's attention. It is rightfully mine (as mine is his).

Along comes Miss Thang. She covets my husband's attention, wrongfully wanting it without regard for me, or in all honesty, my husband.


I am proud to say that I am a jealous wife.
I hope that my husband is a jealous husband.

Won't you join me in being jealous for your spouses too?

"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy:..."  -- II Corinthians 11:2a

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