How to Get Off the Jealousy Cycle

How to Get Off the Jealousy Cycle

My sister is nine years younger than I am. She’s going through her last year in high school and I am in my twenties. We’ve always had the classic big/little sister relationship, so we have conflict like most sisters do. During a recent argument, God taught me a hard lesson.

I made fun of how all of her and her friend’s shoes looked the same. Now this might have seemed like typical sister banter, but it hit a chord for my sister. She was hurt and now we were fighting. I apologized after she told me I hurt her. I didn’t realize how much I had hurt my sister until something similar happened to me. 

Someone close to me had been extra critical. Their comments made me feel small. When I journaled about both situations, I found that God kept reminding me of the comments I had made to my sister. You see, it wasn’t that I was jealous of her shoes or thought her and her friend’s shoes were funny looking. It wasn’t even about the shoes at all. I was envious that she had friends in high school. I never really had a large group of friends in high school. Then there’s my little sister, who does everything with her friends. Suddenly, I saw it — I was jealous. 

My eyes were open to how easily being jealous can destroy a relationship. That jealousy had crept into my heart towards my sister and it was ugly. I felt dirty. During my time with the Lord, I found grace for that person in my life who had been extra critical, because I have no idea where the hurtful comments the person said towards me could have come from. Jealousy can happen to anyone! — Moms, friends, bosses, co-workers, older sisters… Even those who seem to have everything together.

Hurt turns into jealousy, jealousy turns into bitterness, bitterness turns into a critical spirit, critical spirit turns into hurtful words, hurtful words go right back into hurt – and we are starting the cycle all over again. I was focused on myself and then boom! A sharp comment came out. A jealous comment is the tool in our selfish tool belt. I allowed hurt from my past to affect my current and future relationship with my sister. That’s the power of jealousy. Wow. 

Are you ready to jump off the jealousy cycle? I know I am. I want out, off, and away! 

God’s higher calling for all of us is HEALING. I promise if we start bringing our hurts and pains to Him to heal, He will help us restore our relationships – Not destroy them. Here are a few places where we find jealousy being addressed in the Bible.

1 Corinthians 3:3

In 1 Corinthians 3:3, Paul treats the church of Corinth like baby Christians, because they “are walking like mere men” – not like Christ followers. 

“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” – 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 

Proverbs 27:4

Proverbs 27:4 says, “Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” How true is this? Jealousy truly does ruin and destroy relationships. It might happen slowly over time before you even realize what happened. It truly is not a good look.

James 4

James 4 is really convicting. 

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

– James 4:1-3

This verse just shows that even though we know Christ, we are still able to destroy each other by our selfish desires and our words. James reminds us that we do not have because we have not asked. This proves the point that we need to go to God for our hearts to be healed and ask with the right motive. He is the only One who can free our hearts from the cycle of jealousy. It’s like we are going around and around in circles, focused on ourselves and God is saying look up. 

I don’t know where you are in the cycle of jealousy, but I would invite you to look at your last conflict. Were selfish desires, hurtful words, coveting, selfish striving, fighting… jealousy part of the conflict? Jealousy really is a bad look. Own what you can own and jump off that jealousy cycle. 

Hannah Lynn Miller
Hannah Lynn Miller

Hannah is a radio/podcast host, blogger, fashion-obsessed, mental health counselor in training and Bible teacher. Subscribe for daily inspiration.

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