Posts Tagged ‘Overcoming Jealousy’

Overcoming Jealousy

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

1 Sam 18: 6-9, 19: 1-7; Mk 3: 7-12

Dc. Larry Brockman


Jealousy!  It is one of the seven deadly sins.  This morning we hear how Saul had become jealous of David, so much so that he considered killing him and all because the Lord had gifted Saul and the Israelites with David and his miraculous success in combatting a seemingly invincible foe, Goliath.  For a while, David had been an answer to a prayer for Saul because he was so successful.   But when the people of the time recognized it by singing David’s praises relative to him, Saul was infuriated, and plotted danger against David.   

It’s a human reaction that we all share, isn’t it- jealousy over someone else’s success.  It seems particularly hard for people to accept someone else’s success after they been successful themselves.  In Saul’s case, he had been the center of attention.  And even though he and his army won the battle, it was David who got all the attention.  And so, Saul just became consumed with jealousy and envy. 

I am sure that all of us can think of a time when someone stole the spotlight from us.  And rather than rejoice in the other person’s success, we were envious or jealous.  Maybe when you were a child, you did something and were praised for it.  And just when you were basking in the attention and the joy that went with it, a brother or sister did something and seemed to steal the attention right out from under you.  Later on, maybe you did a really great job on a work project, and all of a sudden someone else steals the show.   

What should we do when we feel that emotion of jealousy and envy, and even anger in situations like this?  First of all, recognize that life is just like that.  God’s gifts are given to everyone; everyone has a share of the limelight.  So, we should be happy when someone else succeeds.  After all, we all want them to be happy for us when we succeed.   

But more than that, gifts are not balanced.  Whenever my wife baked a pie, she always used to have one of our kids cut the pie.  And whoever cut the pie was the person who received the last piece.  Everybody learned a key lesson from that.  No matter how hard you would try, it is just very hard to cut that pie so that everyone gets the same size piece.  And it is that way in life as well.  You might get the larger piece of the pie today, but someone else is going to get the larger piece of pie tomorrow.  That’s life.   

Second, these deadly sins, like jealousy and envy, are the devil’s best chance to derail us from our real goals in life.  They draw attention to ourselves and our wants rather than God’s will for us.  And if we become consumed with jealousy and envy, we lose sight of what our lives are really all about-  the mission and goals that God has in mind for us.  That’s exactly where the devil wants us- consumed in ourselves.   

On the other hand, sharing the limelight is a lesson in humility that all of us need to learn.  Because when you come right down to it, we are all really the same in God’s eyes even though we are as different as night and day in gifts, talents, and limitations.  It is God’s attention and praise we should be seeking; not the world’s.   

Today’s Gospel echoes the same lesson.  All those people closing in on Jesus were not doing it because they loved God or Jesus; but because they wanted something from him- something worldly.  They were into themselves.  And so Jesus arranged for an escape from the pressure.   

The next time you start to feel jealous or envious of someone else.  Think about how the devil is working on you.  Let it go, and seek after God’s praise first.