Anger and offenses can be settled and healed, but the Book of Proverbs states, “who can stand before jealousy?”
“Wrath is cruel and anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4, TLV).
“A tranquil heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones” (Proverbs 14:30, TLV).
The roots of jealousy often occur when we feel deficient in an area. Our low self-esteem or self-worth desires the attention we see our friends, family members, or co-workers receiving. But before I get into the issues and harm caused by being envious, a quick review of the steps presented by Yeshua (Jesus) for bringing healing from offenses.
There are many ways to offend someone and not realize it. Our brains are all wired differently. We are given instructions for acquiring healing and closure by following the commandments. If your brother or sister has something against you, go to them. If your brother or sister has caused you great grief, go to them.
- Go to your brother
- Two or more witnesses
- Expose to the community
“Now if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault while you’re with him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen, take with you one or two more, so that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.’ But if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to Messiah’s community.” (Matthew 18:15-17, TLV).
And the opposite is given:
“Therefore if you are presenting your offering upon the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” (Matthew 5:23-24, TLV).
When people lack communication, compassion, empathy, and love, cancer grows, and bitter roots deepen. When people no longer communicate, there is a separation that happens. Many times, years go by without people speaking to one another. Jealousy is a whole other beast:
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster.
OTHELLO, ACT 3, SCENE 3
Sometimes opportunities arise when like Jacob, we must face our brother. Yaakov cries to the Father in fear that his brother is still harboring unforgiveness and bent on killing him:
“Deliver me, please, from my brother’s hand, from Esau’s hand, for I’m afraid of him that he’ll come and strike me—the mothers with the children” (Genesis 32:12, TLV).
Like Jacob concerning his father-in-law, Laban, –we must face our brothers/sisters at times.
“Now Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken away all that belonged to our father and built all this wealth at our father’s expense.” And Jacob saw from the countenance of Laban that his attitude toward him had changed” (Genesis 31:1-2, BSB).
Envy rots the bones.
Jacob and Laban have a faceoff, and Jacob speaks everything that has been pent up in his heart for years. Things not confronted or dealt with eventually come forth from the deep:
These past twenty years I’ve been with you, your ewes and female goats have never miscarried, and I’ve never eaten the rams of your flock. I didn’t bring you animals torn by wild beasts. I myself would bear the loss. You would require it from my hand, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. I was consumed by heat during the day, consumed by frost during the night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. This is how it’s been for me twenty years in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks—and you changed my salary ten times! Had I not had the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, you would have sent me away empty-handed now. But God saw my misery and the toil of my hands, and last night He became the Judge.
Genesis 31:38-42, TLV
Laban’s sons were jealous, and Laban was full of trickery. Laban’s sons did not have good eyes to see Jacob. They saw him as a threat to their inheritance.
“Jealousy can arise from faulty thinking, which distorts our perception of reality. As Rabbi Dessler explains, “Jealousy happens when we focus on a few moments of success in someone else’s life and ignore their suffering.” (Aish)
Throughout the Bible, we read story after story involving conflicts. We read of men and women who struggled and had to face one another eventually. For Jacob, concerning Laban, it was 20 years.
David had to face his father-in-law:
And Saul was furious and resented this song. “They have ascribed tens of thousands to David,” he said, “but only thousands to me. What more can he have but the kingdom?” And from that day forward, Saul kept a jealous eye on David. (I Sam. 18:8-9).
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster.
Jealousy when full blown gives way to a murderous spirit bent on evil:
Now Saul told his son Jonathan and all his servants to put David to death. (I Sam. 19:1).
Then Saul sent agents to David’s house to watch him, in order to kill him in the morning. (I Sam. 19:11).
Saul and his army of 1,000s are bent on murdering David, his son-in-law. Each time Saul is caught, he repents. Well, sort of. Although Saul said David was more righteous than him, Saul’s heart was still corrupt, “Is that your voice, David, my son?” And he wept aloud. “You are more righteous than I,” Saul said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly.”
It’s not true repentance. Saul is sorry he got caught. And Saul is immediately bent on murdering David the next day. Nothing has changed. Fake tears–fake repentance.
Who can stand before jealousy?
Like Joseph, at times, we must face our siblings and the hatred and murderous spirits working through them and say, “This too was for our good.”
“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more” (Genesis 37:4-5, BSB)
Oh, this thing called envy happens in families and assemblies alike. It happens in friendships and with coworkers, but it must be put aside and dealt with. Tragedy started with the first family. Abel’s blood has a sound. It cries out. Our hearts cry out over broken relationships.
“And Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” (Gen. 4:4-7, ESV).
Anger and wrath can flare up and come forth. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, but jealousy is often hidden. And who can stand before it. David’s father-in-law was jealous of David. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of his gifting. Cain was jealous of his brothers offering. In Matthew 10, Yeshua Messiah brings a most challenging word concerning those closest to us:
Do not think that I came to bring shalom on the earth; I did not come to bring shalom, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.’ “He who loves father or mother more than Me isn’t worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me isn’t worthy of Me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow after Me isn’t worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
–Matthew 10:34-37, TLV
Dr. Skip Moen explains this suffering well in his article Damage Assessment:
R. T. France comments, “But the way to peace is not the way of avoidance of conflict, and Jesus will be continuously engaged in robust controversy . . . God’s peaceful rule can be accomplished only by sharing his experience of conflict.” The sword is imagery of harm and suffering. There is no peace without injury for those who are called to be peacemakers. If we would follow Yeshua, we will necessarily have to carry the instrument of our torture.
Step back for a moment and consider God’s plan for peace. It begins with a strategy of suffering and sacrifice. Yes, there is peace. Yes, there is fellowship with God and men. But the price of winning the peace is enormous for both parties. The prophets all died. The holy men of God were rejected, beaten and murdered. The son of the vineyard owner met the same fate. And so do His followers. Those who look for peace without cost have not met Yeshua on the way to Golgotha. They walk a different path – the path of compromise with the world. Yeshua’s path is narrow. It invariably and inevitably results in the world’s hatred and harm. Proverbs tells us the righteous man will fall seven times – the number of completion, the number of his death – and yet he will rise again (eight is the number of new beginnings). The Greek word for witness is martyrs. More, HERE.
We are called to be peacemakers, even as Joseph was:
Joseph’s brothers are envious of him way before he has dreams, but the dreams bring about more envy.
(Genesis 37:11) “And his brethren envied him, but his father observed the saying.
(Genesis 37:19-20) “They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer! “Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, ‘A wild beast devoured him.’ Then let us see what will become of his dreams!”
The adversary often comes to destroy the dreams/assignments given by the Holy One using the people closest to us. What area are you attacked in the most? Ponder and meditate.
(Proverbs 6:34) “For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.”
We are warned of what to do concerning those who argue over the Word and other points of discussion, but what of envy?
“Dismiss a quarrelsome person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person is twisted and is sinning—he is self- condemned” (Titus 3:1-11).
Envy and jealousy rot to the bone. Bones are so important that Joseph’s we’re carried out of Egypt like his father, Jacob. The Hebrew word for bones is “atzamot.” This is closely related to the word meaning “essence / atzmut.”
Having envy engraved on our bones sounds horrendous. How can we escape envy and jealousy or be aware of it in our persons? I’m often asking myself why I feel certain emotions. I try to name the feelings and then search and ask the Father to help me get to the root of it so I can come up higher and be whole. When we are jealous of others, we often talk badly about them or make snide remarks concerning their gifting. We may harshly critique them or point out their imperfections, unknowingly we are sick and need a plank removed from our eyes. This shows immaturity and a lack of humility.
After healing from past wounds in these areas, I made a vow to encourage people around me concerning their gifts. I long to draw out their gifts so they can bloom. Many women I have encouraged have gone on to birth blogs, podcasts, or books. I want others to do well. One of the reasons jealousies concern me is I have witnessed it in my life. Silence at the time of giving birth. No celebration during my successes. This is hurtful if the silence comes from those you love.
Sometimes, we can use jealousy to accomplish things we have longed to do but may not have had the ambition to do unless we had a fleeting moment of jealousy, but that is different from having such envy for a person it rots your bones and becomes engraved on your branches.
During this time of introspection, may we rid ourselves of jealousy and find great joy as Aaron had for his younger brother Moses. Aaron could have been jealous since he was the oldest but instead had a heart of joy. May we act like Joseph, who forgave his brothers and that what they meant for harm, the Holy One used it to save a people. May we pray blessings over the work of the hands of those around us and help them fulfill their callings and gifts in any way we can.