Nothing’s more toxic than jealousy. Here’s how to avoid it.
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.Galatians 6:4
Two guys stranded on an island learned to survive by growing pineapples. Oddly, one of the guy”s pineapples were always bigger than the other guys, even though they were on the same island. Even stranger than that, the guy with little pineapples wasn’t mad about it. In fact, he was always complimenting big pineapple guy about how big his pineapples were.
Little pineapple guy may have had small pineapples, but he had jumbo-sized character.
Today it is easier than ever to compare yourself to others and feel small as a result. When you see that person who has thousands of followers on social media compared to your dozens, it’s quite natural to wonder, “Why them, and not me?”
And you probably don’t have to look far to see bigger and nicer houses than your humble abode. Or at the stoplight, it’s hard not to notice that nicer, more expensive car next to you and think to yourself, “Wow, must be nice. If I were spinning in that rig, my quality of life would be so much better. ”
Truth is, we all play the comparison game every day. It’s part of the human condition. But here’s the rub. If you think of comparison like a soil, it’s the kind of soil that produces toxic stuff like envy and jealousy. These things grow like crazy and then end up choking out the good stuff like joy and gratitude.
Instead of feeling blessed and grateful, comparison leaves us feeling left out, short-changed, and less than.
The poster boy for jealousy gone wild in the Bible is a guy by the name of Saul. Even though he was tall, dark, handsome, and powerful, Saul was insecure. Therefore, he felt threatened by other people’s success, particularly the success of a young shepherd boy-turned-giant-slayer by the name of David.
After David became somewhat of a rockstar in Israel for his heroism on the battlefield, someone wrote a simple song about him. Actually, the song was about Saul, too. It went like this:
“Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands!” 1 Samuel 18:7
When Saul heard the women singing this song in the streets, he lost his mind with jealousy. He went into a rage and tried to kill David with a javelin, twice. To no avail, though, because the Lord’s hand was on David.
There’s a lesson here about what to do when someone else’s profile is seemingly bigger and better than yours. What is it? Join in the song. Praise God for their success. Celebrate with them. Rather than being a jealous hold-out like Saul, we should add our voice to the chorus of praise to God for His favor on a life. Sure, it’ll be a little difficult and unnatural at first, but we’ll get the hang of it.
As we celebrate the success of others, it is sure to kill jealousy at its root so that once again, our joy in the Lord and gratitude for His grace will flourish.
After all, life is so much bigger than pineapples.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.