Jealousy

“While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he had married a Cushite woman. They said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us, too?” But the Lord heard them.” — Numbers 12:1-2

Every family has its disagreements. From trivial little spats to arguments that rattle the foundations of your house, living in close proximity with other people inevitably leads to conflict. Family dynamics, personality clashes and knowing how to push each other’s buttons means that the ones who we love the most can also be the ones that we fight with the worst. It’s a strange phenomenon that we can love someone so much and yet want to absolutely wring their neck at the same time. Fortunately, most of those embarrassing moments occur in the privacy of our homes and we are able to work out our differences without the intrusion of outsiders, but that is not always the case.

In today’s passage, we see that even Moses’ family was not immune to these kind of disagreements.  Unfortunately for Aaron & Miriam, they voiced their grievances in a way that undermined the authority of their brother and brought down the judgment of God. What started as griping about an in-law became a much bigger problem when the root of the discontent finally revealed itself: jealousy.

The sad part is that Aaron & Miriam were correct. The Lord had spoken through them as well as Moses. Because of his public-speaking ability, Aaron had been the mouthpiece through whom God communicated with Pharaoh and was later chosen to serve as the high priest. Miriam had been crucial to Moses’ very survival and later led the Israelites in worship. Both of them had been instrumental in the salvation of Israel but, because of their envy of their brother’s position, they could not be content to fulfill the role that God had established for them.

Jealousy steals our joy (which comes from the Lord), and what makes it worse is that it is a self-inflicted wound! It starts with comparing ourselves and our situations with others and ends with us resenting them and unable to appreciate the blessings we currently possess. Jealousy is insidious in nature, and left unchecked it can eat us from the inside out like a cancer. However, because it is a self-inflicted wound, we can overcome the effects of jealousy in our lives by re-orienting ourselves towards gratitude with the help of the Holy Spirit.

The surest way to inoculate ourselves against jealousy is by constantly meditating on the goodness of God and the many ways that his blessings have manifested in our lives.  This is not always easy to do because there are periods in our life where it feels like the blessings of God are few and far between. But we must remember that this is just a feeling, and our feelings are not always the most accurate indicators of the reality of our situation. Every breath we breathe, every day we live, every laugh or embrace shared with a friend or loved one is a priceless blessing from our Father in heaven. When we walk in appreciation of what we already possess, there’s no room for jealousy to take root in our lives!

Prayer: Father, thank you for the overflowing blessings that you have poured into our lives and forgive us the times that we allow ourselves to become envious of others.  Help us to be content in the season and role that we currently inhabit, because we know that our time is limited and we have so much to do for your Kingdom! We pray in the name of your son, Jesus.  Amen.

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