Every time Sarah went on Facebook, she constantly saw her friends living a dream life. They were happily married, their children were well dressed and always smiling, and they even did crafts with everyone helping to clean up afterwards. Sarah used Facebook as a brief escape, but it felt more like solitary confinement each time she logged on. How is they got all that happiness, and she was sitting in dirty sweats, hoping for a moment of peace and quiet, praying her two boys wouldn't start arguing over who-knows-what in the next room?
Jason works hard at his job - putting in extra time, handling responsibility well, taking on extra projects, but his co-worker Brian? He's personable and that somehow gets Brian all the recognition for half the work that Jason does. Every time he sees Brian get a work perk, it makes him angry. Why doesn't he get recognized like Brian does? It's not fair.
How do you know when you've encountered jealousy? It usually comes along with these phrases: "How come they have ... and I don't?" or "That's not fair!"
Jealousy only sees and desires the benefits of someone's life, not the problems. It screams, "I should have what they have!" Jealousy believes God got it wrong.
But love? Love's response is entirely different. Love sees someone's circumstances and knows that we don't see the entire picture. Love compels us to celebrate the blessings God has given someone, while acknowledging that God blesses each of us individually in a different way. When we spend more time reading the book God is writing about our own life instead of looking over someone's shoulder to read their book, we won't be jealous, because our eyes are on what God's handcrafted for us.
Sometimes, when I see the good things in others' lives that are absent from mine, it makes me think You must love them more than me or that You're punishing me. I know those thoughts don't come from You. You've said so many times in Scripture that jealousy is harmful to my health. I don't like being jealous, so please help me to be grateful and content for what You're doing in my life right now. And please help me to celebrate with my friends the good things You're doing in their lives.