Jealousy: A Guest Blog by John Dean

Jealousy: A Guest Blog by John Dean

 jealousy 

I have thought a lot about the subject of jealousy for the last day or so.  Most of my life I have tried to avoid that trap.  That’s right, it is a trap!   I remember the first time I had a problem with jealousy.  It happened when I was about eleven or twelve years old.

As a child, I had a very good singing voice.  I had many opportunities to sing at school and at church.  My only real competition was a boy named Bob Pudvin.  He had an excellent voice and was capable of handling anything he was asked to sing.  At times it seemed that people paid more attention to him than they did to me. I remember wishing that he would just move from the area or just go away. I wanted him gone.  I was having my first experience with jealousy.

Sadly, I had to learn a hard lesson about being jealous.  One day I went to school and our teacher, with a very serious tone in her voice called the class to attention.  This brought our class to an immediate silence.  She announced that earlier in the morning, Bob Pudvin was riding his bicycle on the way to school, and he was hit by a car. He was instantly killed.  I was stunned along with the rest of my classmates with this sad news.  Then I felt guilty, because I had recently entertained thoughts that I wished him gone.  I never wished him dead, just gone.  Now he was gone, and I felt terrible.  The guilt was overwhelming for an eleven year old boy.

For months after, I felt that my desire for him to be gone was what caused him to die.  That was no burden a young child should have to carry, yet it was one I was carrying.

Eventually, I made up my mind that I would never be jealous like that again.  It was not easy to follow that path, because there are natural occurrences in life that will prompt feelings of envy or jealousy.  What is important is what you do with those feelings.  Jealousy is a powerful negative feeling.  It has led to people committing murder or bringing serious bodily harm to others.  I’m sure that right now there are people in prison cells plagued with remorse and guilt for their actions committed in a jealous rage.  In many cases, the people they harmed were actually people that they loved.  When the rage and anger subside, they are left to deal with guilt, which also can be a very negative feeling.

Don’t allow yourself to fall into the jealousy trap.  That is what it is, a trap.  It changed my life for a very long time.  Every time I had to sing, my thoughts went to Bob Pudvin and the impact of such a loss had on his family.

There were many times I sung through tears, because I was thinking about him.  Even today, sixty one years later, I still think of that poor innocent boy who was the subject of my childhood jealousy.

There are many verses in the Bible that speak about jealousy.  Remember, it was jealousy that let Cain to kill his brother, Abel.  Proverbs 6:34 says that jealousy is the rage of a man.  James 3:16 says: “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”

Proverbs 14:30 says:  ” A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy (jealousy) the rottenness of the bones.”  There are many other verses that point out the same common idea.  Jealousy is negative, wrong, and if you let it continue in your life, the one who will suffer the consequences will not be the other person, but YOU!

John Dean is a pastor and missionary in Fusagasuga, Columbia. He offers free English classes and enjoys traveling and opera music.  Oh, and did I mention he's my dad?

John Dean is a pastor and missionary in Fusagasuga, Columbia. He offers free English classes and enjoys traveling and opera music. Oh, and did I mention he’s my dad?

 

Related Blog Posts: Locke and DemosthenesGuest Blog by John Dean: First Impressions on the Mission Field, The Greatest Reunion, Making a Difference

Comments
  • Mary Vanderplas February 18, 2014 at 5:28 am

    I like what you say about jealousy and its effects, though I don’t think the battle is won simply by “making up one’s mind” not to be jealous. I think the answer lies in accepting ourselves as we are and being content with the persons God made us to be – instead of constantly comparing ourselves with others and measuring our worth against the gifts and achievements of others (which fuels feelings of envy). When we recognize that each one of us is a beautiful creation, valued and loved beyond telling, and when we embrace ourselves as such, we’re more apt to avoid falling into the trap you describe.

    I agree that more important than our feelings of envy is what we do with them. If we allow ourselves to wish ill upon or cause harm to another – in a futile effort to make our light shine brighter by snuffing out the other’s – we sin, at great cost to ourselves. How much better it is for us to confess our feelings and ask God to help us overcome them and act in love toward our neighbor.

    I appreciated your sharing of your early experience of envying a talented peer – and the grief this caused you when your wish for him to be gone came horribly true. I can see how the memory of this experience has stayed with you and spurred you toward avoiding the jealousy trap. It’s a poignant story that cautions against envying others and wishing them ill in an effort to make ourselves bigger. Thanks for sharing it.

    And thanks for the insightful blog.

    • John Dean February 18, 2014 at 10:01 am

      I agree wholeheartedly with your comment, Mary.

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