Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sarah: Dealing with Jealousy

Sarah had a problem common to us today--jealousy.

Sarah gave up on God's promise to give her a baby and took matter into her own hands. She told Abraham to have a baby with her servant. Yet when Hagar became pregnant, Sarah was angry. Then she blamed Abraham for the problem.

Jealousy brings out the worst in most people. When a person has talents, possessions or popularity that another person wants, it can become ugly. This was true in Abraham and Sarah's day and is still true today. Just look around you.

Imagine that a less popular girl shows up at school in a really cute outfit. A few people will compliment her on it, but many will make rude comments about how it looks. Why? Because they don't think the less popular girl deserves that outfit. They should be the ones with those clothes.

Or imagine that one group of girls have been the cheerleaders for three years straight. Then a new girl tries out and bumps one of them from the squad. Uh oh. She'd better look out. She now has the position another person wanted and having what someone else wants leads to jealousy. The girl whose spot was taken will probably be watching for any little flaw in the new girl's performance. The friends will make the new cheerleader feel unwelcome.

There is no reasoning with jealousy. Whether you are jealous like Sarah, or the brunt of the jealousy like Hagar, life is difficult. The only cure for jealousy is to learn to be content with what you already have. Rather than playing the comparison game, be thankful for your own talents, abilities and possessions.

Do you have a problem with jealousy? Take the quiz below to find out.

1. You work hard for several weeks on an essay for a contest. You get third place. You:
a. Should have gotten first place. Your essay was better than the winning one.
b. Hope the winner doesn't enter next year so you have a better chance.
c. Are disappointed but plan to try again next year.

2. You've worked really hard on your balance beam routine but are still having problems. It seems so easy for the others girls. You:
a. Hope you do better than they do on the bars.
b. Work hard and ask the coach for tips.
c. Hope one of them falls off of the beam during the meet.

3. Your friend's dad is taking everyone to the amusement park and then out to eat for her birthday. You had cake and ice cream at home with your family for your birthday. You:
a. Hope your friend's birthday is a lot of fun. After all, you get to enjoy it too.
b. Wish your parent were as cool as her parents.
c. Think it's unfair that she gets everything she wants.

How did you do?

The correct answers are: 1-c, 2-b, 3-a

It's okay to want to improve. The desire to improve motives you to work harder. It's when you wish for something bad to happen to someone else or get caught up in the "it's not fair" game that it becomes a problem. Try not to compare yourself to others. That's when jealousy gets a grip. Be happy for their successes, and don't let them make you feel less important. You are an individual with your own talents and successes. Using what you have and what you own for God and others is the real key to being happy.


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