Summary: There is a place among brothers and sisters in Christ for differences of opinion, but fair-minded Christians adhere to the principle of overcoming disagreements with respect toward each other while together seeking God's Will.
THE WONDER OF OVERCOMING JEALOUSY WITH RESPECT NOT REVENGE
An old Indian fable tells of an eagle that could not fly as high as another eagle, and was so jealous that it flew down to earth, lit next to a sportsman with a bow and arrow, and said to the shooter, “I want you to bring down that eagle that soars up yonder higher than I.”
The sportsman replied that he would if he only had some eagle feathers to attach to his arrow. So, the jealous eagle pulled a feather out of his wing, gave it to the sportsman who shot the arrow toward the soaring eagle, but didn’t quite reach him; it was flying too high.
Whereupon, the jealous eagle pulled out more feathers, kept it up until he lost so many of his own feathers that he himself could no longer fly. Moral of the fable: If you’re jealous, the only person you hurt is yourself.
Jealousy starts at an early age and can last a lifetime if not reckoned with. It wrecks love between two otherwise inseparable people. It brings nations to war and powerful people to ruin due to hostile feelings of resentment, bitterness, grudge bearing, envy, covetousness.
The green-eyed monster of jealousy rears its ugly head when it is perceived by a spouse that someone else likes his or her spouse more than they ought to . . . a rival gets the job, or the position, or the custody rights someone else wanted . . . one’s neighbor lives in a better house, drives a nicer car, has more money to burn . . . someone gets preferential treatment due to the color of skin, or age or gender . . . a candidate someone doesn’t like or didn’t vote for is elected.
One of the most telling dynamics of the negative effects jealousy can have on the sanity and civility of otherwise intelligent people is pointed out by Luke in his description of how the Jewish hierarchy reacted to the popularity of Paul and Barnabas as they preached the gospel: (Acts 13)
“When they saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, began whipping up antagonistic opposition against Paul and Barnabas, seeking to contradict good things that were happening, and abusively accused them of blasphemy.”
Folks, whenever people become obsessed with jealousy, they misperceive or misrepresent truth. The Jewish hierarchy in the first century carefully guarded their own misconceived rights, privileges and elitist status. Their suspicion of the Gentiles, and their hatred of them, blinded them to their sin of jealousy.
Be careful to avoid the trap of jealously that could cause you to lose your perspective on truth and allow you to be led down a path of destruction . . . There is a place, of course, for opinions to the contrary and views that vary from person to person . . . but there are absolutes which honest and fair-minded Christians must adhere to . . . Respect is one of those absolutes.
In the Christian realm in which we say we belong to the kingdom of God, and are therefore said to be “in the world but not of the world” - there is always going to be that constant challenge, facing Christians, of how we are to respond to governmental authority, at all levels . . . and I suppose, in answer to the question of “how”, we could simply say and be done with it, “very wisely”.
However, it’s not that easy, is it? Pride and jealously must be dealt with! So, we need to see how this issue was dealt with in the Bible. And for that, look no further than how it was handled by Jonathan’s friend David . . .
What we find out about “How David dealt with King Saul’s jealousy” is a method, a solution, that you and I should have no problem implementing in our own dealings with government authorities; we do as David did: Experience the wonder of overcoming jealousy with respect, not revenge.
First, please recall King Saul’s previous bad treatment of David (PSG page 43): In a jealous rage Saul tried to pin David to a wall with a spear . . . tried to have David killed by the Philistines . . . ordered his son and his servants to kill David . . . told Jonathan he wanted David dead . . . killed priests because of their allegiance to David. Therefore, we must conclude:
If anyone had a reason to hate the head of a government - in this case a king - and get even with him, wouldn’t that person be David? Yet, we see the wonder of how this man of God handled personal conflict with authority – I Samuel 24:3-7 . . .