This week in The Love Tune-Up, we’re switching it up a bit with the first mention in I Corinthians 13 of what love is not.
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8 NASB)
Before I dive into this, how about a quick recap on week #2 of The Love Tune-Up: Love is Kind. In short, I have a bit of work to do. I found that I get caught up in doing my own thang sometimes. I’m working on being more intentional about looking for ways to show kindness. Thank goodness for grace on this one.
Now, back to love is not jealous. I felt like a baby Christian when I read this one because it didn’t make sense to me. There are several references to God being a jealous God. It also says that God is love; so how can God (a.k.a. love) be jealous if it’s not supposed to be jealous? I guess I’ve glossed over these scriptures in the past because I don’t remember ever having these thoughts. Nevertheless, I took to the internet to see if I could make sense of it all. If you’re like me, hopefully this will clear it up for you too.
First, there’s bad jealous…
Whenever I’m studying something, I always like to start of with reading the definitions of words. So often, the meanings of words get lost over time. When I googled jealous, here are some of the definitions I found:
- Feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages
- hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage
- feeling mean resentment toward a rival or competitor
These are exactly what I think of when I think of jealous. (And unfortunately, I have to admit that I’m guilty of these at least once a week.) What I learned is this type of jealousy stems from selfishness and comparisons. It’s wanting something that doesn’t belong to us or isn’t ours to claim. It’s also driven by poor self-worth or discontent. When it comes to love, this is the type of jealousy to avoid. Indulging in it never leads to anything good. It’s how we end up fighting, becoming bitter, belittling others, etc. God is not this type of jealous.
Then, there’s good jealous…
If you keep digging, you’ll find that jealous has other meanings, as well, including the following:
- to be positively and intensely interested in something, zealous (definition found here)
- vigilant in guarding a possession
- intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness
- demanding complete devotion
- to desire (for the benefit of the other person) someone to be on your side (definition found here)
I imagine that everyone–regardless of age, sex, race, religion, or what have you–has been bad jealous a time or two (or more, as in my case). How do we start eliminating it from our thoughts and actions? This week, I want to challenge you to try the following:
- Make a list of at least 50 things you’re thankful for. If it takes you all week, that’s fine too. If you’re still struggling, check out the 1000 Awesome Things blog. They have an amazing ability to come up with the most mundane things you most likely overlook.
- When you feel bad jealous coming on, flip it and say a quick prayer of thanks for the blessings the person is experiencing.
- Ask God for help in this area.