Why be jealous?

Some years ago an article on the subject of jealousy appeared in a popular magazine. All I can recall about the article was one point which so impressed me that I've been aware of it ever since. The writer of the article was a physician. He said that he never realized how jealous his brother was of him until he received his degree from graduate school. Out of all the people he invited to his graduation, his brother was the only one who never acknowledged the event in any way.

It's difficult to picture cold indifference as a symptom of deep-seated jealousy. Most of us equate jealousy with lovers' quarrels, spiteful words, or fits of rage.

The hateful side of jealousy is vividly portrayed in the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible. There we're told that Cain murdered his brother Abel because Abel's offering pleased God more than Cain's. ''And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect, '' the account reads. ''And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.'' It goes on to say, ''Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.''n1

n1 Genesis 4:4, 5, 8.

If the animal instinct that can kill in one instance stems from the same element of thought that would have us willfully ignore, slight, or be indifferent to a fellow human being, wouldn't it be better for us and for mankind to overcome once and for all the inclination to be jealous? Think how peaceful our lives could become if we went about our daily round enjoying friendships, being grateful for the good others have. And it can be done.

According to Christian Science, animal instincts such as jealousy are the fruits of a false concept of existence-specifically, the belief that we're mortals living in a material universe. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''The erroneous belief that life, substance, and intelligence can be material ruptures the life and brotherhood of man at the very outset.''n2

n2 Science and Health, p. 541.

It seems only natural to accept what the senses of sight, sound, taste, touch , and smell are telling us about the world around us. They would hypnotize us into believing we're mortals pitted against other mortals in a battle for self-preservation. If we conclude that this is the true nature of life, it's no wonder we react with fear; it's no wonder we seek more matter or better matter in the pursuit of happiness and success.

Our view of life, our way of life, our love for our fellowman, can be enriched and uplifted as we wake to the spiritual understanding that God, Spirit , has made us in His image. In other words, we're not really mortal beings struggling to survive. And we're not organized chunks of matter hurtling through space to certain death. We're actually wonderful sons and daughters of one heavenly Father. When we begin to understand and claim this identity, this spiritual sonship, we find that our inherent Christliness overcomes and overrules any sense of animality that might be lurking in our consciousness.

Christ Jesus had to heal right among his disciples the ambitious impulses that lead to jealousy. When James and John asked for a special place with him in the glory of his kingdom, the other disciples were angry. But Jesus turned them all away from such rivalry. ''Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?'' he asked the two brothers. And to the rest he explained, ''Whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.''n3 Wasn't he showing them the glory open to each one without limit or comparison, the glory of following their Master in the service of all?

n3 See Mark 10:35-45.

Following Christ Jesus means true growth in Christian character. It means regeneration that enables us to express more of the nature of our heavenly Father in thought, word, and deed. Then we not only have no reason to be jealous; we have every reason to love all mankind and to rejoice over every evidence of good we see around us. How this will bless the world! DAILY BIBLE VERSE Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3

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