• Topic > Life Struggles > Jealousy >

    A biblical perspective on the unfairness of life

    When good people get cancer and when bad people get promotions, we may feel tempted to say, “God, what is going on?” Today we take a look at Psalm 73, which asks the question, “Why is life so unfair at times?” Discover the answer with us!

    Comparison Obsession

    Thomas J. DeLong, a professor at Harvard Business School, has noted a disturbing trend among his students and colleagues—a  “comparison obsession.” He writes:  “More so than ever before, . . . business executives, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals are obsessed with comparing their own achievements against those of others. . . . This is bad for individuals and bad for companies—when you define success based on external rather than internal criteria, you diminish your satisfaction and commitment.”

    Comparison obsession isn’t new. The Scriptures warn us of the dangers of comparing ourselves to others. When we do so, we…

    I Was Jealous of My Best Friend

    I have something to confess: I was once jealous of my best friend. I didn’t mean to feel this way, and I’m not quite sure how it happened. We’d grown up and shared everything since we were young: our joys and tears, our secrets and dreams.

    Jealousy and Generosity

    Thomas J. DeLong, a professor at Harvard Business School, has noted a disturbing trend among his students and colleagues—a comparison obsession. He writes: “Business executives, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, doctors and other professionals are obsessed with comparing their own achievements against those of others. . . . I have interviewed hundreds of HNAPs (high-need-for-achievement-professionals) about this phenomenon and discovered that comparing has reached almost epidemic proportions. This is bad for individuals and bad for companies [and it leads to diminished satisfaction].” It’s also especially bad for believers in Jesus.

    The Unhappy Sin

    Essayist Joseph Epstein writes, “Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all.” He goes on to say that envy makes us look “ungenerous, mean, and small-hearted.” There’s plenty of research to back up Epstein’s statement. In fact, psychologists have found that envy decreases life satisfaction and diminishes well-being. It’s correlated with depression and neuroticism, and the hostility envy breeds may actually make us physically sick.

    Certain Goodness

    As my sister and I were growing up, our parents taught us about the love of Jesus and to enjoy intimate prayer with Him. As I grew older, sometimes life’s varied challenges pressed hard on me, and my prayers became requests based on need rather than tender dialogues with the One who delights in giving to His children (Matthew 7:11). In other words, my prayers were based on circumstances rather than on God’s character. Over time, I’ve learned to ask according not only to His will but also His goodness.

    roots

    My friend noticed that his maple tree was shedding leaves prematurely. The tree doctor told him his tree was suffering from a girdling root. It had taken 30 years, but the offending root had encircled the tree and was now slowly choking it. If my friend didn’t dig down and hack the root off, the tree would die.

    A unique and readily available tool to banish envy for good!

    “By faith Abel . . . , By faith Enoch . . . , By faith Noah . . . , By faith Abraham . . . , By faith Sarah . . . , By faith Isaac . . . , By faith Jacob . . . , By faith Joseph . . . , By faith Moses . . . , By faith Rahab . . . But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11).

    PURPOSE: To help listeners understand that faith is an important resource in dealing with sin in our lives.

    How an eternal outlook displaces envious attitudes!

    “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1-3).

    Discover a powerful antidote for the poison of envy in our lives

    “Love does not envy” (1 Corinthians 13:4).

    “Now the works of the flesh are evident: . . . envy . . . and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love . . . And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:19-24).

    Discover another crucial step in overcoming the issue of envy

    “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:4).

    Find a fresh perspective for overcoming envy

    “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:4).

    Practical tools for ridding our hearts of envy, and finding freedom in Christ

    “Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, . . . not in strife and envy, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:12-14).

    The impact of envy on our relationships with others, and with God

    “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there” (James 3:14-16).

    IDEA: Envy is a poison that destroys relationships that ought to matter to us.

    PURPOSE: To help listeners understand the power of envy to destroy relationships.

    Discover what God’s Word says about envy

    “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in the past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

    “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:13-14).

    IDEA: God doesn’t forbid envy to deny us pleasure but to guard our joy.

    PURPOSE: To help listeners understand that envy destroys us as well as others.