One Sunday I was preaching about jealousy and I
used an illustration from my days as a seminary student serving a small
congregation in Kentucky. The congregational leadership and I decided
that we wanted to have a week of preaching to bring new life into the
congregation. We invited Herb, who was a student at our seminary, and
one of the best preachers in our class. Herb agreed, and preached a week
at our congregation. He did an outstanding job, and I heard all kinds
of praise from the members. â€śHerb is one of the best preachers we have
ever heard.â€ť â€śDonâ€™t you wish you could preach like Herb?â€ť
Of course, I was feeling jealous.
Jealousy is like a poison to our well-being. It is about comparing and envy. Jealousy attacks where we feel insecure or inadequate. If we are already feeling insecure or inadequate, jealousy intensifies those feelings and beliefs. A good illustration about jealousy is found in the story of Snow White. The Queen asks the magic mirror, â€śWho is the fairest of them all?â€ť Instead of hearing what she wanted, she is told there is someone who is fairer than she.
Jealousy is like a poison to our well-being.
It is about comparing and envy.
Jealousy attacks where we feel
insecure or inadequate.
Jealousy arises when our mirror tells us that there is a Herb or Snow White out there. There is someone who is prettier, more talented, more athletic, and smarter. I am sure we are not asking the mirror, â€śwho is the fairest of them all?â€™ What is our question that we use to compare ourselves with others?
The question for our consideration is whose face is in our mirror? Whose judgment in the mirror do we give power to?
There is a universal truth â€“ when comparison isnâ€™t involved, we are content. But once we start measuring our lives against others, against what we could have, against what we think we should have, what we seem to lack takes center stage.
We need something like snoopers which serve as fact checkers because there are a lot of unhealthy ways we measure ourselves. From the conclusion we make, we give ourselves messages that could be called â€śfake news,â€ť those negative messages telling us that we do not measure up. We need a truth checker that corrects what we believe about ourselves and others. So, when we meet a Herb or a Snow White in our lives and we start comparing, we need to stop and appreciate his or her good gifts, while at the same time acknowledging our own. We donâ€™t have to be better than Herb. All we have to do is believe in ourselves and use our unique gifts. We need to be the voice in the mirror.
Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.
Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700