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What does the Bible say about jealousy? Is jealousy or envy a sin?

Wanting what someone else possesses has been a part of human nature since forever. Remember when Adam and Eve's son killed his brother in a jealous rage (Genesis 4:3-8)? Later, God told Moses to write down for the Israelites, "Hey, stop envying other people's stuff!" (Exodus 20:17; paraphrased). In the New Testament, Jesus clarified, "Stop envying other people's stuff because there's more to life than STUFF" (Luke 12:15; paraphrased). Clearly, jealousy is a problem for human beings...

Is jealousy a sin?

Feeling jealous is never a pleasant feeling. Feeling envious of another person saps the joy we could experience from our own lives. Dwelling upon jealousy or envy will lead to more unpleasant emotions—like anger, frustration, and discontentment (Proverbs 14:30). Allowing jealous or envious thoughts to take over the mind is a sin because it puts all importance and focus on SELF, disregarding others' needs and interests.

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus." —Philippians 2:3-5

Selfishness is not a characteristic we should allow to permeate our hearts. The more we focus solely on what WE want, the more we forget about other people and God's amazing plan for our lives (Matthew 13:15).

Jealousy and envy give control over to worldly desires (1 Corinthians 3:3).

The Apostle Paul advised, "Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other" (Galatians 5:26). Instead, we should have love for one another, just as God loves us: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).

When we squash jealous or envious desires, we hand control back to the Holy Spirit who will help us produce the spiritual fruit of a Christ-follower—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Jealousy & Envy are Liars

Feelings of jealousy and envy put little cracks in our personal satisfaction with life. They poke and whisper that we aren't happy with what God has given us—that what we have isn't enough. And, yes, sometimes it does feel that way. That's just human nature. But those aren't feelings we should dwell upon, because they'll only produce more darkness and eat away at our contentment.

God has unimaginable good planned for you, and He isn't going anywhere (Romans 8:28; Hebrews 13:5). Take the focus off selfish desires and jealousy and turn it toward serving others and finding ways to love as Jesus loves. When we put others first, our hearts begin to shift away from selfishness and toward self-LESS-ness. No, being selfless isn't the way of the world, but...that's not we're about, is it?

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." —Romans 12:2

TL;DR

Allowing jealous or envious thoughts to take over the mind is a sin because it puts all importance and focus on SELF, disregarding others' needs and interests (Philippians 2:3-5). The more we focus solely on what WE want, the more we forget about other people and God's plan for us (Matthew 13:15). Jealousy and envy give control over to worldly desires (1 Corinthians 3:3) rather than to the Holy Spirit, who can help us become more Christlike (Galatians 5:22-23). Take the focus off selfish desires and jealousy and turn it toward serving others and finding ways to love as Jesus loves (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).

By: Catiana Nak Kheiyn

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org and loves to write novellas with local young writers at her workshops. She also contributes at GotQuestions.org, Blogos.org, and GQkidz.org. When Catiana is not writing or hanging out with teens, she loves spending time with her two kids, five socially awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.

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