Upon hearing about something wonderful in another person’s life–maybe its a new home, a new car, a new love, or a wonderful vacation–have you found yourself saying, “I’m so jealous.” Now we may think we mean “I’m so happy for you,” but what we are actually saying is we wish we were in their position and we can’t really be happy because we are thinking about our own shortcomings or missed opportunities.And that invalidates the joy your friend has just shared with you because you are not acutally happy for them and you aren’t coming alongside them to celebrate. Some might even say its a bit passive aggressive.
A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word! (Proverbs 15:23)
Jealousy is envying the achievements of another, usually because they have accomplished something we have not. Maybe their circumstances have put them in a better financial position than you find yourself. Maybe they have worked and planned and prayed for something and are now receiving the fruits of their labor. Maybe we resent that someone’s life turned out the way we wish our life had been and we feel shame and remorse about our situation. And none of this is good for us unless we let it inspire us to make changes in ourselves.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
Try saying, “I’m so happy for you,” or “how wonderful this has happened in your life,” instead of “I’m so jealous.” Keep the conversation focused on the joy of the person speaking and not on ourselves. Let them have their moment and let their joy become your joy. Be excited for them just as you would cry and mourn with them in sad times. Be uplifted by what God is doing in their lives.
And if you find yourself wishing you were on that trip or in that car or you had that fill in the blank, stop and ask yourself what changes is God calling you to make that you would have what you may envy? Or better yet, stop and ask God if that is what he intends for you that you may have a similar joy, or is there something else? You see, your friends’ joy may not be your joy after all.Be inspired by the** joy you wish was yours that one day you may share it with others as well.
So that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. (Romans 15:32)