Today is March 30, 2020. The US has ground to a halt for the most part, as has much of the world. I make note of this primarily because I plan to say a few things in the sentences ahead (a possible prediction?) that may or may not play out as presented. My initial ruminations on the topic of jealousy were pretty flat. Not that this “issue” isn’t serious, indeed it is! But it just seems so commonplace, so expected, why write an article on it? So, let’s take a look at some of the places that jealousy rears it’s ugly green-eyed head.
Just seconds into this writing, I had to take a minute to break up a little showdown between the two dogs in the living room. So what do think that was all about? Would you believe JEALOUSY?? Bella had been given a bigger bone than Flower because, well, she’s a bigger dog! Crazy isn’t it, that this competition and envy even exists in the animal kingdom? If you are a parent, or have spent any time around infants and toddlers, I’m sure you’ve noticed that it exists within these small children as well. Obviously, it is not something that is learned, but innate. I believe the story of the first humans’ fall into sin and the subsequent passing on of that state of fallenness through their progeny explains things quite well. So, to put it simply, jealousy is in us all.
I think women come to mind most often when we start discussing this topic. I get it. But I have seen jealousy surface in the male gender as well…it just seems to manifest differently. I remember a time or two that my sons were victims of peer jealousy, and one time in particular it came out as anger. As a matter of fact, my oldest son suffered a bloody nose because of it. Initially we were all scratching our heads as to exactly what happened and why it escalated so quickly. But upon further investigation, and a run-down of “he said this, and then I said that”, it was pretty clear that jealousy and resentment was at the root of the tussle. Now, girls are a WHOLE different story…
Call it “mean girl syndrome”, sabotage, manipulation or what have you, but the female gender seems to have perfected jealousy and competitiveness to a fine science. Once again, we can blame the sin nature for this. Growing up, this wasn’t one of my weaknesses…I had others, believe me. But I was often the brunt of others’ jealousy towards me. It got so ugly and compounded that I dreaded going to school most days, and it was a pivotal component of my request to graduate from high school a year earlier than scheduled. But of course, that really never solved the problem.
So how seriously does Yahweh view this sin of jealousy? If you are familiar with the Ten Words, more commonly referred to as the Ten Commandments, you know that “Thou shalt not covet” is among them. But is this one of those things that you can just suppress, and as long as there is no outward expression of the thought or emotion, you’re in the clear? I think we all know the answer to that one. A “friend” from social media shared a talk very recently given by a pretty well known orthodox rabbi in Israel. She herself is orthodox and an author. She warned that the message was not a pleasant one, especially the beginning and the end. She was correct. His words of warning were very sobering as he voiced his frustration over the many respected voices that were trying to calm and reassure their listeners that this pandemic known as Covid 19 would soon be over and the world would return to normal. He warned that in his opinion, nothing could be further from the truth, and that those spreading this “misinformation” should be ashamed and very nervous! He went on to list the possible whys of this terrible judgement, the first being lashon hara, or evil speech. This is comparable to gossip and hateful backbiting, but can also take more subtle forms. And then he listed jealousy! What?! It was his observation that jealousy could be judged by total economic collapse and that everyone’s financial status might well be leveled, making the rich poor and thus taking away the poor’s reason for being jealous! I was impressed especially when he addressed the fact that jealousy (as well as the other sins sure to bring Yah’s righteous anger and judgement) was a HEART issue, and we’d all better get serious about teshuva! Thought provoking to say the least…
So let’s get real and personal about what the Torah has to say about this thing called jealousy, in particular regarding patriarchy and Biblical marriage. Did you ever think it odd that jealousy seems to actually be permissable, depending upon who is jealous and for what reason? Throughout Scripture, YHVH describes Himself as a jealous Elohim (God). He will not tolerate His people having any other god before Him. He will not stand for half-hearted worship or partial obedience either! He has every right to expect our complete devotion and submission to His will and instructions. Numbers 5, beginning in verse 11 describes situations where a husband is jealous or suspicious of his wife’s fidelity, and how it is to be determined if she has indeed been unfaithful and what the consequences would be. But try as you may, you will not find anything addressing the jealousy of a wife! That is a hard pill to swallow if you are a woman that has bought into our modern egalitarian culture regarding the sexes. Does Yah not care about our feelings? That just doesn’t seem fair!
Once again, we have run into the wall of our presumptions. We have been conditioned for thousands of years that jealousy and possessiveness are normal, even expected, reactions when it comes to our man. My momma would say “What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.” Yah says “Not so!” Many men are naturally polygamous, or feel called to cover more than one woman. The patriarchs of our faith often had several wives and large families. Torah gives instruction on how to manage a plural household, but never condemns it. So, what are we to do when we encounter this MAJOR brain/heart cramp? Once again, the answer lies in the renewing of our minds in regard to our purpose, our station, and our role. Serious, transparent, and wholehearted prayer is a good starting point for when our thoughts and emotions seem to contradict scripture. If we are real about wanting to align our hearts and minds to our Creator, He will be faithful in assisting us with this major paradigm shift. But it will be an ongoing, perhaps life long process, as all spiritual growth is. With the help of the Set Apart Spirit we must learn to accept that men are accountable to the Messiah for their actions and motives and not to their women. OUCH!
This may seem like a really big order, but it IS do-able if we are submitted and serious about being obedient and repenting of anything that would hinder our calling and living in peace within our families. We all know there are too few out there leading the way and setting the example for highly functioning and blessed Biblical families. Modeling the dynamic that Messiah has with his bride(s) is the primary purpose for marriage, so dealing with jealousy is paramount. May Yah give His people, especially the ladies, the strength and grace to confront this stumbling block and thrive!