The Green-Eyed Monster
“...love does not envy...”1
A little girl was eager for her older sibling to grow out of their bicycle so that she might finally get to enjoy riding it. When that day finally came, the little girl was so excited that it didn’t matter that her sibling was about to get a brand-new bicycle; that is until she saw the new bike with shiny new paint and bell, reflectors that spun in the wheels, and a basket to decorate the handlebars. Suddenly, the bike she had so longed for didn’t matter to her. She wanted the shiny, new bike. Her envious attitude not only affected her outer emotion toward the bike, but it had crept into her heart and changed her inner emotion toward her older sister. The feelings of jealousy had begun to consume her, and the “green-eyed monster” began to attack her sibling – physically and verbally – bringing an end to what was to be a fun day of bike riding together.
The color green is traditionally compared to illness. This is because when one is ill, the skin takes on an ashy appearance, making the skin look as if it has a greenish-yellow tint. But throughout history, emotions have also been matched to colors, blue for sadness, red for anger, white for peace or purity. Green has been the color mostly associated with jealousy or envy. William Shakespeare knew this when, in the 1600’s, he referred to jealousy as the “green-eyed monster” in his play “Othello”. This phrase was preceded by the word “Beware”, making it known that this was a dangerous and frightful analogy. And so, it is! Envy, or jealousy, is a monster with the power to make us physically ill. The Bible says that “envy rots the bones” (Prov. 14:30).
1 Corinthians 13 tells us what love is: patient and kind... and then it tells us what love is not, and the first on that list is, envious. We cannot have healthy relationships or friendships when there is envy or jealousy present. Envy is quite literally wanting what others have. The reference of the green-eyed monster is basically envy imagined as a monster that attacks people. If we are to practice being loving, and love is indeed patient and kind, then there is no room for the green-eyed monster of envy!
Dear Lord, how easy it is to become discontented with what you have given me; to take my relationships for granted and sabotage my friendships with feelings of envy. I want to be like you more every day and you, Lord, are loving, patient, and kind, leaving no room for envy or jealousy. Help me to overcome those feelings that destroy relationships and practice the love that is you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 13:4.
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.