Hey, Jealousy

Christians always find ways to tidy up difficult and rebellious emotions. Anger has received a lot of attention lately. "Righteous anger and selfish anger," we say. "That's the important difference." Perhaps. That's fine enough. But don't dare patronize jealousy with such trite platitudes. Scripture acknowledges this difference. Let's just deal with Proverbs. "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1). Anger is a tantrum, a screech, a baby's cry. "Pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife" (Proverbs 30:33). Oh, no! Great and mighty anger! As titanic and Herculean as milk and the human nostril. Scripture knows: 'Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?" (Proverbs 27:4).

Jealousy is tyrannical. It is catastrophic. It is metaphysical. It feels controlling and you cannot escape. It feels as if every particle of self-control you have in your entire being is vaporized in one fell emotional swoop. It brings people to the end of themselves in a millisecond, and they are no longer the same people.

Bodily, it makes you feel like you've been infected with the rage virus — radioactive, indestructible, decomposing, inciting strong aversion to any human interaction that does not meet your singular end: "Envy makes the bone rot" (Proverbs 14:30; cf. also Song of Solomon 8:6, "jealousy is fierce as the grave"). Relationally, jealousy knows no moderation; it is domineeringly exacting, exhaustive, unaccepting of excuses: "For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge" (Proverbs 6:34).

[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]