Jealousy Is Not Our Friend
Thinking about the parable of the day labourers we heard from this week (Matthew 20: 1-16), I reflected a lot on what influences us to compare ourselves. What leads us to compare ourselves to each other and harbour jealousy in our hearts?
In the parable, all the workers agreed on a salary with the master before they started working, yet there were grumbles among them when they received what was promised. Looking closer, we can see that their eyes were not focused on the right thing: why were they paying attention to their colleagues’ salary, feeling wronged that they received the same? I wondered if God was fair in that story, but Sunday, I realized that my eyes were also not focused on the right thing. They each received what was promised to them; this should have made them happy and very grateful towards the master of the vineyard. They could have been ecstatic with the workers who worked one hour, rejoicing with them and thanking God for the generous master who gave work to all of them that day. But they allowed comparison to rob them of that joy, ending their workday on a sour note.
I realize that I compare myself the most when I lack self-confidence. I remember in the past feeling envious and jealous of people who were confident, always wondering where my place was in this world, where did I belong? How can these people be so free and comfortable in their skin? I was jealous of the freedom they seemed to have and the ease with which they were living their lives. Lacking this sense of identity and self-worth blinded me to all the things in my life that I could be grateful for and kept me in the dark and lonely prison of comparison. Learning that God loves and values me saved me from a sad life and jealousy patterns that would have eaten me alive. Though there is still work to be done, I am thankful to realize the link between knowing my place in His heart, realizing that I am precious and have my lane and race to run, and me stopping the comparison game. The more we grow in our identity in Christ, the more we realize that we have nothing to prove, solely His love and light to show to all men.
The truth is that jealousy is not our friend; love is. And thankfulness will help us to stay grounded as we navigate different situations in our lives. A grateful heart is a great antidote to jealousy because it focuses on all the goodness of God, in our own lives, in our own lane. It is good medicine to our bodies (Proverbs 17:22) and helps us keep our eyes focused on what matters most; God’s wonderful presence and love in our lives and the gift that we have to share it with all men.
– Lisa, December 18, 2020