Jealousy Gets Us Nowhere

16 Feb

The LORD said to Cain:
“Why are you so resentful and crestfallen.
If you do well, you can hold up your head;
but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door:
his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.”
Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out in the field.”
When they were in the field,
Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.  (Gn 4:6-8)

Jealousy does terrible things to people.

I have seen way too many examples of people who intentionally hurt others because they are jealous of them.  They may be jealous because the other person can accomplish things that they cannot do.  They may be jealous because the other person is friends with more people than they.  They may be jealous because the other person has more than they have.  There are myriad reasons for someone being jealous.

No matter the reason, the outcome is generally not good.

Because of jealousy, many people lose their way.  Their hearts become so heavy and their vision so clouded that they step off of the path that leads to the Kingdom and begin down a different path that leads to destruction.

Jealousy, unchecked, can definitely lead one to ruin.

We see that all too clearly in today’s first reading.  Cain was jealous of his brother Abel because God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice and not his own.  And why was God pleased with Abel’s sacrifice?  Because Abel offered first-fruits for his sacrifice.  Abel offered God nothing but the best.  Cain did not do that.

Yet, because of jealousy, Cain did not see that the problem was with himself and his poor sacrifice.  Cain decided that the problem was with Abel and the best way to deal with the problem would be to do away with Abel.

The story of Cain and Abel gets played out over and over again in our own lives.  We may not go the way of Cain entirely, killing the target of our jealousy, yet we, nonetheless, do things to hurt the one with whom we are jealous.  We may hurt them physically, we may hurt them emotionally, or we may hurt their reputation thus harming their relationships with others.

Instead of harming the target of our jealousy, we need to look deep within ourselves to see the cause for the jealousy and to effect the change we need in our own lives so that we may do good.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray for people whose relationships are fractured because of jealousy that they may allow God to come into their lives and heal them.