DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I admit I’ve always been jealous of my sister. She has had all the breaks and been very successful. Normally, this isn’t a problem, but now she’ll be spending a few days with us at Christmas, and I don’t know how I’ll handle it. Any advice? — J.M.
DEAR J.M.: Jealousy isn’t often listed today as one of the major sins, but it should be, because it is wrong in the eyes of God and can have devastating effects on our lives. The Bible warns, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4).
Why is jealousy so wrong? One reason is because of what it does to relationships. Be honest: if you weren’t jealous of your sister, wouldn’t you be much closer to her? Wouldn’t you be delighted to have her coming for Christmas, instead of dreading her visit?
Jealousy (even when it’s hidden) destroys relationships and leads to bitterness instead of love. The Bible’s command is clear: “Let us behave decently … not in dissension and jealousy” (Romans 13:13).
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But jealousy also hurts us. A jealous spirit is a bitter, discontented spirit, and this can become like an acid eating away at our souls. God wants us to be satisfied with the good gifts he has given us and not be covetous of the gifts of others. The Bible says, “Be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5).
The most important thing you can do to prepare for your sister’s visit is to ask God to forgive you for your jealous spirit and to replace it with his love and thankfulness. Then welcome your sister the way you’d want to be welcomed. Above all, make Christ the center of your time together and of your life.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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