“Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-5
I think jealousy, boasting, pride, and rudeness go together in this verse for a reason. When jealousy looks us square in the nose, it is easy to treat others rudely in order to feel better about ourselves. We retreat to our pride in order to hide our insecurities.
I have an example from my own life of this. Unfortunately, envy is something I struggle with constantly. My insecurities can overthrow me in an instant. A long time ago, while hanging out with a group of friends, a lovely young lady made my ex-boyfriend some lemonade. I knew the two of them had very little interest in each other, but I was still mending from the breakup and my insecurities took over. So when he praised her for her thoughtful gesture, I matter-of-factly blurted out that my guy friend next to me had made me dinner earlier, and he was a great person too. It was random, awkward, and didn’t produce whatever desirable results I thought it would. Although my guy friend did deserve recognition for his kind act, so did the woman who was kind enough to make lemonade. It really wasn’t that I wanted to praise my friend publicly, but more like show off the fact that I was loved enough for someone else to do something nice for me too.
Jealousy taints love in its selfishness. When we see something we desire in the hands of someone else, we turn to pride and judgmental behavior. Think about it. How often do you gossip about that girl at your church who is nothing but joyful and sweet, especially on the days when you’re miserable? How often do you complain that your spouse does nothing nice for you when you see someone else’s spouse do something wonderful?
It is hard to love others when we are insecure about ourselves and fail to trust in the great things God has promised us. Instead of appreciating others or rejoicing with others, we separate ourselves from them and put up walls built out of pride. Love is not jealous because love should have no walls. Those walls only slow us down, they never protects us like we want, and they keep us from the authentic relationships that we crave.
Verses to Meditate On
For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.
Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy.