Jealous or Envious?

Partly because of the popular American practice of using words wrongly, there is a debate over how exactly to define the words jealousy and envy. The argument includes what the difference between them really is. Most people have no intention of changing their minds on the matter, and just use them each as they like, including interchangeably in some cases. The discussion is not really very heated. Most don’t care…

If you are going to defend yourself from them, and if they are different problems, it might be wise to have 2 strategies; one for each actual problem. One version of the argument is that jealousy is realized when I have something that I already possess, but am in danger of losing it. That could be Tara’s attention. It could be last year’s best croquet player trophy.

Envy is contrasted in this argument as desiring something that someone else has. I want Tara, but she likes you. I want to win the trophy this year but you are better at croquet than I am. Worse, you are Tara’s pet, and she is one of the judges…

I don’t intend to settle the definitions issue, but I do have advice about defending yourself from both problems. The answer is, become more like Jesus! The path to success is, respond to difficult situations with answers that are sourced in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23).

The more generous you are with the things that you have, the more likely it is that when you have needs further up the road, when you have given your supplies away, someone will be there willing to share hers/his.

The more you honor people who have skills or abilities or have produced great art or other achievements, the more likely it is that you will receive honor for yours. The more you are able to grasp that by the time someone becomes famous for having great skills in some situation, they have traded their lives for that skill, the more likely you are to pay the price of learning or practicing to become skilled at something and be recognized for it. The more you enviously insult people others are honoring, the greater the danger that you are building a gallows pole for them that will be used against you (Esther: Haman & Mordecai).

Who is wise and understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom’s gentleness. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and lie in defiance of the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.       (James 3:13-18  Holman Christian Standard Bible)