Acts 5:17-26;Psalm 34:2-9; John 3:16-21
Saint Pius V, Pope
The Sadducees, filled with jealousy, laid hands upon the apostles and put them in the public jail. (Acts 5:17-18)
How would you describe the feeling of jealousy? To some, it is an all-too-familiar stinging, burning, aching of the soul. According to Scripture, “Jealousy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). How unpleasant!
Why do we allow ourselves to get this way? Well, for one thing, there’s self-centeredness involved—at least with the unholy, garden variety jealousy. We can’t handle seeing someone else have something that we want, so we become angry, resentful, and jealous. But there’s more to the story than this.
Think about how the Sadducees saw the apostles performing wonders and gaining the favor and awe of the people. When they should have been focusing their “seeing” on God—specifically, what he was doing in that moment and how he was being expressed in the apostles’ miraculous signs—they didn’t. Instead of seeing what God was doing and joyfully joining him in it, they stayed outside. They watched the disciples perform miracles until they were so filled with envy that they couldn’t see clearly.
Maybe we could think about jealousy as a matter of misplaced vision and skewed perception. Vision, because instead of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and his love and mercy toward us, we fix our gaze on someone else. And perception, because while we’re so distracted with the specific gifts, talents, and blessings that God has given another person, we can’t possibly perceive all that he has given us. How can we discover that we are fearfully and wonderfully made with awesome gifts and talents of our own? How can we live like the person who God made us to be when we are so focused on the way other people are?
The best way to avoid being “filled with jealousy” is to fill ourselves with better things. Fill your mind with the truths of God’s promises and his grace. Fill your heart with his love and mercy. Let these be the things you reflect on every day. And when someone else is doing well or is getting something that you want, it will be that much easier to rejoice with them and then get on with being who God called you to be.
“I praise you, Lord, because I am wonderfully made. “Wonderful are your works!” (Psalm 139:14)~WAU