Jealousy and envy are quite different as far as sins go but their effects are the same – destruction of relationships. The high priest and the Sadducees are conspiring under the motivation of jealousy to arrest the apostles because of the success the apostles are having of winning converts to their way of understanding the life and ministry of Jesus. There are few motivators that are worse than jealousy and envy and the destruction of relationships that these two initiate is often very difficult, almost impossible to repair.
Think back in your life to an experience of jealousy where you were either the victim or the perpetrator. I am sure you will agree that no good came out of the actions prompted thus wise. What we need to be aware of at all times in our relationships with others is that fallen aspect of our humanity that leads to the rise of jealousy and envy. It is essential that we ‘nip such feelings in the bud’ or else they will gather momentum of their own and be extremely destructive.
St Francis of Assisi writes that such feelings are sins against the Holy Spirit as they are an outright refusal to rejoice in the good things that God is doing for others! This is a very sobering judgement but one that ought to give us food for thought and reflection. The heart of the Gospel message of salvation is a call to rejoice in the good things of God. If they are from God they are always directed towards the building up of His Kingdom and thus we should all benefit from such gifts, even if they are placed directly in the stewardship of others., This of course means that we all have responsibility o use the gifts God has given us in such a way that we place them in the service of all and not just ourselves.
One final point is simply to remind us that the worst kind of envy and jealousy is that which is directed towards the results of another’s sin. If we are jealous or envious of corrupt gains this is worse than if it is of just gains simply because there is the further sin here of not recognising the unjust means used to acquire such gains.
Do I tend to be a jealous person or am I usually willing to rejoice in the good fortune of others?
Holy Spirit, help me to trust that God will provide all I need for a good life here on earth and to keep my focus firmly fixed on the promise of eternal life in heaven.