When Jesus stood before Pilate in Matthew 27, he watched the characters, listened to their nonsense and thought to himself, “It was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.” When he washed his hands, he knew that behind all their cheap arguments were hearts full of jealousy toward the Savior.
Jesus stood tall in the eyes of the public. He brought integrity, compassion for the poor and hurting and teaching from God with which the religious leaders could not compete. They saw him as such a threat to their leadership and system that their jealousy drove them to say and do absurd things. This envy put Christ on the cross but also brought destruction to their nation in a few years. Jealousy never wins.
Envy is still the not-so-silent killer that thrives in Christian circles. Leaders and active church workers toil at great hardship only to be criticized or obstructed by those who don’t. When this opposition doesn’t make sense or is fueled by emotions, you know that jealousy is in play. The critic is either unwilling or unable to match the character and ability of the person scorned and longs to have the respect that flows their way.
The signs of jealousy are obvious much like the deeds of these religious leaders. They plotted in the dark, made up lies, called good bad and persuaded a mob to be on their side. It worked, but it revealed their character. They were so jealous that they stooped to allow their own children to pay the price for their conniving (v. 25).
Jealousy is a fire that can rage in any soul and too frequently destroys churches and personal relationships. If jealousy helped kill Jesus, do we have any hope? Even though we live in a fallen culture, here are some things we can do:
- Compliment everyone: Personal praise gives people a sense of worth and appreciation that might ease their jealousy. Celebrate any time you can.
- Ask the “why” question repeatedly: If you give a person enough rope and force them to explain their opinions or accusations deeper, they will hang themselves by revealing their true motivations.
- Throw a wet blanket: When you hear jealousy lurking behind a comment, push them to go with you to talk to the poor person being abused. Pray as you walk.
- Stand firm with the hurt party: Just imagine what would have happened if Pilate had stood with Christ against the establishment. Change history?
- Examine your own heart: The more you allow the Holy Spirit to harness your jealousy, the better you will be equipped to help others.
Truth is the best antidote for a jealous heart!