Jealousy is one of the first sins mentioned in the Bible, and its bitter outcome was murder.
Later [Eve] gave birth to [Cain’s] brother and named him Abel…When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (Genesis 4:2-7 NLT)
I love God’s warning to Cain. “Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” He knew how quickly the bitter poison of jealousy would destroy him.
One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. (Genesis 4:8 NLT)
It happened just as God had warned. Cain didn’t subdue the sin of jealousy and it ended up taking control.
We see many examples of the destruction caused by jealousy throughout the Bible.
Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him so they sold him into slavery.
King Saul was jealous of David so he spent his entire life hunting him down.
Caesar was jealous of the newborn King, Jesus, so he had all the baby boys murdered.
The Jewish Priests were jealous of Jesus so the had him crucified.
The Roman leaders were jealous of the apostles and had them imprisoned.
When God warned Cain, he also essentially reminded him to focus on himself. “You will be accepted if you do what is right.” If we really think about it we can see that jealousy puts entirely to much focus on someone else rather than looking at our own circumstances for what they are. We all have a different road to travel. Our journey will not look the same as those around us.
We were never promised that life would be fair. That things would always be like we think they should. In fact, we were promised quite the opposite. (John 16:33)
But if we stop worrying about what we don’t have, and instead start remembering what we do have in Christ — the hope of eternal life — then jealousy is far less likely to take hold of us and poison our hearts.
A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. (Proverbs 14:30 NLT)