The sin no one talks about

By Susie Hawkins

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; but jealousy is like cancer in the bones. — Proverbs 14:30, NLT

Recently, we looked at the comparison game and how detrimental it is to our spiritual and emotional health. One of the dangers of playing this game (and continuing to feel “less than”) is that jealousy can get a death grip on our heart. Jealousy, or envy, has been the root cause of devastating sin in the church and this world, and we would be wise to take a more serious look at it. Jealousy is so easy to fall into because it plays into our insecurities. It kills love, destroys friendships and is like a malignancy of the spirit (see above scripture)

I recently ran across a book by R.T. Kendall, Jealousy; The Sin No One Talks About. I can’t possibly do his book justice here, so I encourage you to read it for yourself. R.T. has a unique way of being brutally honest, applying common sense and keen biblical insight, which make for an excellent perspective.If you do a word study on this topic, you will find hundreds of references to jealousy and envy, as they are synonyms. However, R.T. differentiates between the two in that envy is a more passive emotion, usually resulting from covetousness. Jealousy, however, goes beyond envy and is more active, a resentment of others successes. It is “bent on vengeance.”

I have told my children countless times (and reminded myself) that anyone can weep with you. It is only your true friends who will rejoice with you when you are successful or blessed—and there are less of them than you might think. You can lay that at the feet of jealousy.

Focusing on this theme in scripture reveals that it was the root cause of all kinds of evil, from the beginning of human history. Sibling rivalry was fueled by jealousy—think of Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Rachel and Leah, Joseph and his brothers, Moses and Aaron and Miriam—and that just takes us through Numbers! (No doubt it is still the major cause of fractured relationships between adult siblings today.) It was raging jealousy that led to the death plots of David, the infants of Bethlehem, John the Baptist and Jesus. Scripture also speaks of godly jealousy, and this is an interesting twist on this subject. R.T. says, “God’s Jealousy Proves His Love.” God’s jealousy is not sin, but springs from His immense love for us and His desire for our good. So the question remains: what do you do when jealous? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Admit it, say it, call it out: “I am jealous of______ because_________.”
  • Confess it as sin. Repent. Accept your own uniqueness, your calling, who you are, how God has gifted and used you.
  • Finally, cultivate thankfulness for God’s blessings in your life.

Published May 4, 2017

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Susie Hawkins

Susie lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband OS Hawkins. She is the author of From One Ministry Wife to Another: Honest Conversations on Connections in Ministry. She has 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren, keeping her life full of craziness and joy.