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How To Handle Jealousy in Friendships

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

Written by Evi Idoghor

Who remembers the story of Cain and Abel? It can be found in Genesis 4 in the Bible. Cain was jealous of his brother, Abel, because God accepted Abel’s offerings, but often rejected the one Cain offered. When Cain asked God the reason for His "discrimination," God answered—“Why are you angry and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?

When we think about jealousy we usually associate it with people who are ‘horrible.’ However, all of us at a particular point or phase in our lives have been jealous of someone else (perhaps we are really horrible people). It could be their success, their family, their relationship, and so on. I know this because I have been jealous. Yes, I have—and I have been jealous of my friend; my close friend.

At that point in my life, I was slowly building my confidence back up. I was on fire for God and was spending almost every waking moment with Him—through Bible study, listening to sermons, service in the church, and listening to worship songs most of the time.

As such, I became stronger in my Christian faith. I had a lot of things I was believing God for; I mean I had a whole list of things. I felt that since I was no longer fornicating and no longer had a relationship that was distracting me from Him, then He was obligated to answer all my prayers—just the way I wanted them to be answered.

God, I need a husband, God I need a job that would file a permanent residency for me. God, I need this, God I need that. Yet, it was as if God mistook me for someone else. The things I was praying for, someone else was getting the results. Hello! God! I thought you were all-knowing or all-powerful; I am the one asking for these favors, not her. However, my blessings did not come, at least not at the time. I was distraught.

God, I am saving myself, God I am turning down advances from guys, I am spending my entire time with you. In fact, people are beginning to call me pastor, and they are getting tired of me talking about God and church all the time. Yes I know, I can see it in their facial expressions. But yet you are giving someone else, the very things I am praying for.

As such, I became jealous of her. I did not want to hear her talk about her new opportunities. Can we talk about something else? I often asked her in my head. In my head because I didn’t want to seem like a hater. I didn’t hate her—far from it. However, I was jealous.

Jealousy stems from a lack of contentment with your own life. When you are unhappy with the way your life is going, when you are unsatisfied with what you have, and when you don’t know what your purpose is, then you tend to start coveting someone else's life.

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's" —Exodus 20:17

Not many of us own oxen or donkeys, or even servants, but the Bible is trying to paint a picture for us not to earnestly desire something that doesn't belong to us. It often leads us to all manner of sins. God has given everyone a purpose. If you don’t know what your purpose is, and you are not doing anything with your life, then discontentment sets in, and jealousy follows suit — jealousy of others who are walking in their purpose, jealousy of others who are making things happen.

When I discovered my purpose and began walking in it, my perspective on life changed. I watched my gifts come to life; my light began to shine even brighter. Although say I never blow oh—however, I became appreciative of God more. I understood my time and season. I understood that God was big enough for us all. And I understood this passage of scripture which says: “The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.Psalm 145:15-16.

The keywords in the above passage are Due and Season. We all have times and seasons in our lives that God has predestined to bless us and cause us to shine. Think about it; some people pop up from nowhere and become the next big thing when they least expect it. It is as if the entire world now knows their name. Everyone wants them on their show, magazine cover, events, etc. That is that person’s due season. What the person has been believing God for, and even more has now come to pass. It may not be on a grand scale for you. Perhaps, it is getting a series of contracts, multiple high paying job offers, or admission into ivy league universities. Or maybe just a roof over your head. When it is your time, God will answer you in the way He wants to.

So, when you see things happening for others, rather than getting jealous, rejoice with them. Celebrate them because you know that God is good, and He will not withhold any good thing from you. Thank God I was able to manage my jealousy. Thank God it didn’t lead to hatred or spite for my dear friend.

Others take it a step further and start to spread hate about the person they are jealous of or do something horrible to bring them down (Cain eventually killed Abel). So, if you are dealing with jealousy today, don’t feel ashamed. You are not the only one on the planet that has dealt with it. However, don’t let it consume you. Ask God to uncover your areas of discontent, and also your unique purpose. Then you can start walking in your purpose and be carried away by the things He has called you to do.

Like these types of articles? Click the Devotionals link, and get acquainted with all things Jesus, and how you can better your life as a believer. Also, remember to like, share and subscribe, never to miss an update.

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