By Vivian Bricker, Crosswalk.com
Jealousy can creep in at any time. The holiday season is an especially tempting time for the green-eyed monster to render its head. Seeing other people with beautifully decorated homes, shopping at expensive stores, or talking about their upcoming family get-togethers can cause feelings of jealousy to burn inside a person, robbing them of the joy of the holidays. Therefore, it is vital to know how to combat jealousy when it attacks.
The Green-eyed Monster
In her famous song, “jealousy, jealousy,” Olivia Rodrigo sings, “And I see everyone getting all the things I want/And I'm happy for them, but then again, I'm not… Jealousy, jealousy/Started following me.” Many of us can relate to these same feelings, especially during the holidays. Growing up, I experienced a great amount of jealousy during the holiday seasons and I occasionally still do. In middle school, my jealousy stemmed from being envious of the nice clothes, gadgets, and other gifts the wealthy children in my grade would receive as Christmas presents from their parents. My mother was a hard worker and she worked every day of her life, but our family was never wealthy. We could never afford the items that the wealthy families had at the middle school my sisters and me attended.
In the present day, I don’t envy items, clothes, or gadgets other people have, but I have noticed that during the holidays, I do become jealous of families together. Since my mom passed away, our family has been broken, and I find myself growing jealous of all of the happy families I see. When you are alone, jealousy can grow and fester, creating a huge hole in your soul. While jealousy is a sin most of us would not like to talk about, it is a sin that many people struggle with in their Christian walk. It is okay if you struggle with jealousy—I do too, but our main steps to overcoming our jealousy is by turning to God. Jealousy is not good for us. The Bible tells us jealousy will literally rot our bones (Proverbs 14:30). Even though jealous feelings can creep up during the holidays, God can help us put out the flames of jealousy within us.
Giving Jealousy Over to God
When you start feeling jealousy rising in your veins, give it over to God. The Bible tells us to cast all of our burdens on the Lord (Psalm 55:2; 1 Peter 5:7). Jealousy rates as a burden we can give over to God. There are absolutely no benefits of carrying around jealousy. The side effects of jealousy are only bitterness, resentment, and pain. When you confess your jealousy to God and ask Him to help you relinquish the jealousy in your heart, He will help you. God promises to never leave us alone (Hebrews 13:5) and He will not leave us alone to decay in our jealousy.
Rather than focusing on the jealousy you have toward another person, focus your heart on the love God has for you (“A Biblical Guide to Overcoming Envy,” Pam Morrison Ministries, 2020). Hebrews 12:2 tells us the importance of keeping our eyes toward Christ, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The love God has for you is greater than anything else in the world. If we focus our hearts and minds on God’s love, it will help us not be jealous of what others have because if we have God’s love, then we already have everything we could ever need or want. Even if you think other people might have better holidays because of their expensive gifts, glistening decorations, or happy family get-togethers, the love God has for you is far greater than any of those things. It can be hard to put out the flame of the green-eyed monster, but God can help as you focus on His steadfast love.
Being Happy for Others
When we experience intense feelings of jealousy, it can be hard to be happy for others, but it is something that we have to intentionally do. I told you earlier in this article that I no longer struggle with being envious of items people possess around the holidays, like I used to when I was a tween, but I still struggle with being jealous of people who have happy families since my mom passed away. It’s hard for me to be happy for others, but I can still intentionally be happy for them. Instead of being envious of their family, I can choose to be happy for them. Even though I do not personally have the family closeness, that does not mean I should be jealous of the people who do have intact, happy families.
No matter what or who you find yourself being jealous of during this holiday season, choose to be happy for others, even if they have what you want in your own life. Whether it be a new car, an engagement, a pregnancy announcement, or something else, choose to be happy for that other person. The Lord wants you to be happy for them. He doesn't want you to be jealous of them. Jesus has His own unique purpose for your life that only you can fulfill (Jeremiah 29:11). There is no other person like you in the entire world. You are extremely special and God has a plan for your future—and this future does not include jealousy.
Giving to Others
During the holidays, it can be easy to grow jealous of other people’s economic status, their relationship status, or their achievements. A good way to combat jealousy is to choose to give to others (“A Biblical Guide to Overcoming Envy,” Pam Morrison Ministries, 2020). Jesus tells us that it is truly more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). No matter how jealous you may feel of others, there are millions of other people in the world who do not have it as good as you do. As of 2020, there are 37.2 million people living in poverty in the United States of America (“Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2020,” United States Census Bureau, 2020). Remember this number when you are eagerly desiring the latest smartphone, newest fashion trend, or fancy gift card.
This holiday season, choose to give. Go through your clothes, appliances, or other items you may not use or need anymore. Choose a charity or a nonprofit who focuses on helping low-income families or the homeless, and denote your used goods to them. You might even have some old plush animals, dolls, or other toys you could donate to a children’s home in your town. Even if you do not have any items to donate, you could give your time by volunteering at a children’s hospital to bake Christmas cookies, volunteer as an actor in a Christmas play, or volunteer your time to listen to those who are grieving during the holidays. By choosing to give and help others, it will cause joy to rise in your heart and your feelings of jealousy will diminish.
It is understandable that jealousy will arise at the holidays, but you can quench the fire quickly by turning to God, focusing on His steadfast love, choosing to be happy for others, and giving to others. Choose today that jealousy will not be invited to your holiday celebrations.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/EvgeniiAnd
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Christian Ministry and is currently working toward her Master’s Degree. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is probably embarking on an adventure.