Have you ever wanted something that someone else owned? Have you ever wanted that super-cool bicycle, that shiny, beautiful piece of jewelry, or that cute little puppy, but you could not have it because it belonged to someone else? If you have, you might have felt jealous of what that person owned. Even though you might love the bike your friend owns, or really want the cute puppy that belongs to the boy down the street, you should never hate those people for having things like these. We should not treat others incorrectly or dislike them because of what they have or what they can do.
In the story of Cain and Abel (in Genesis 4), both the brothers gave offerings to the Lord: “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering” (vs. 4). However, Cain’s offering was not acceptable to God. God did not respect Cain for his offering because Cain’s offering was not given by faith. Cain got very upset. Instead of focusing on being obedient to God, Cain grew very jealous of his brother and killed him. This story shows what jealousy can cause if we allow it to enter and fester in our hearts.
The Bible teaches that we need to love our neighbors as our brothers, and that we should not covet other people’s things. Paul said that those who are jealous and envious will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:20-21). Although it is acceptable to like something that someone else owns, we should not want it so badly that we would do anything to get it. This kind of jealousy leads to hatred toward other people. We need to treat others with love and respect, and we should not despise them for what they own. By being happy for those things that we already have in life, we can give all the glory to the One Who created everything—God! What’s more, our godly contentment helps us to be happy for others, instead of jealous of others
(read Philippians 4:11-12).