Jacob heard that Laban's sons were saying, "Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father." And Jacob noticed that Laban's attitude toward him was not what it had been. (Genesis 31:1-2 NIV)
Jacob was successful, and it made Laban's sons angry. They didn't like it one bit that Jacob was acquiring larger and stronger flocks. They were jealous. Even Laban's attitude toward Jacob had changed. When Laban and his sons had held the upper hand, they had been happy. Now that Jacob was doing better than they were, their jealousy was overriding their once good attitude toward their cousin. And it was about to destroy any semblance of the relationship that they previously had.
Jealousy is a dangerous thing. It can cause more strife, more hurt feelings, and destroy more relationships than anything. Look around you. Do you have friends who are more successful than you? How do you feel about their success? Do you spend a lot of time comparing your life with those around you? Do you measure your own success in life by what others are doing? Do you envy others' accumulation of possessions, their salaries, their families, their talents, their intelligence? Do you find yourself constantly competing with others - including your spouse and your children?
Our Lord knew that we would be prone to jealousy. That's why He included a warning against it in the first written laws He handed down to His people... "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." (Exodus 20:17) Add to that your neighbor's looks, his intelligence, his talents, or anything else that anyone else has in his life.
Jealousy is a big green monster, one that will kill and destroy not only your relationships with other people, but yourself. The next time you're tempted to be jealous of someone else, back off and count the blessings God has given to you. If you look at it honestly, your list will be just as long as theirs.
From Newsong Ministries
Used with permission.