Joyce Meyer - Jealousy, Envy, and Judgmental Attitudes
When I first made my mind up many, many years ago that I was gonna have peace, I kinda had to back into it. I had to start by paying attention to what caused me to lose my peace. And I found out, for example, you'll see some very practical things if you do this, like the next time you get upset, stop, and ask yourself, "Now, what really happened here"? Like, I don't do well if I have to hurry a lot. If I let myself get in a position where I have to hurry a lot, or I've got too many things coming at me at one time, more than likely I'm going to lose my peace. We've read several times that if you want to have peace, you have to make an effort. God will do his part, but you have to do your part.
We're gonna talk some this afternoon about gossip, jealousy, envy, and criticism. Some of the sins that I think we have allowed to become acceptable sins. Jealousy is on the top of the list, anger, unforgiveness, probably... And you know, I'm just throwing out a number, but I've got a lot of years of experience, probably about 80% of Christians are mad at somebody. Yeah. Wow. And you're looking at me like... Now, here's the thing. You're never justified in unforgiveness. There is no justification for unforgiveness. You say, "Well, you don't know what they did to me". Doesn't matter. God says you forgive, and he'll take care of the rest. But God cannot go to work in your behalf if you're going to be holding unforgiveness against someone.
Now, forgiveness is not a feeling. Love is not a feeling. Love is a decision about how you're gonna treat somebody. So, the Bible says that you forgive and that may not mean that you feel any different about the person the next time you see them. But it's very plain: you make a decision to forgive, you pray for them, you bless and do not curse them. And to bless means to speak well of and to curse means to speak evil of. So, guess what? If you're gonna forgive somebody, you have to stop talking about them in an unkind way. Uhh, your clappin' is getting a little weaker this afternoon. We just so want to tell somebody, you just want to tell what they did to us. And you're so much better off if you just pray and let God work. And one of the things that I think is more important than anything, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he's thirsty, give him a drink".
Now, that's not just talking about food and water, it basically means if he has a need, just imagine. I mean, I don't have time to tell you the whole story about my dad, but it was miraculous. God told us to take care of my parents until they died. And I tell you, that was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. But it was also the most powerful thing that I ever did. There was probably nothing that I ever did that hurt the devil more than that. When you're good to somebody that has been bad to you and mistreated you, you just totally undo the devil. He doesn't know what to do with you. Walk in peace, walk in love.
Hebrews 12:14-15, "Make every effort", uh-oh, there's that word again, "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone". And I thought about whether or not I should read this scripture because sometimes these are the ones that are hard to explain. "And be holy: because without holiness no one will see the Lord". Uh-oh, where we gonna go with that? Well, first of all, when you're born again, you're made holy in your spirit. There's a legal side to our redemption and an experiential side. There's what Jesus did for us as a gift of his grace, like, he made us right with God. But we may still not be acting right. He made us holy, but we may still not be living a holy life. So, in the "Vine's Greek dictionary", which I love, it's a book about yay thick. And it says that holiness is sanctification, it's a gift of God and the Holy Spirit is given to us to work out the process of holiness in our life, little by little, as time goes by.
So, God puts all these wonderful things in us in seed form, and then, thank God, for the Holy Spirit. Oh, my gosh! The wonderful Holy Spirit: a comforter, a teacher, a helper. He convicts us of sin. I love that! He doesn't let me get by with anything. He convinces us of righteousness. What a gift it is that God cares enough about us not to leave us the way we are! He's gonna mess in your life as long as you're breathing. And I would be more concerned if you were never bothered by anything you did than if you were. How many of you can tell on the inside when you're watching something on television you shouldn't be watching? So, do you turn it off or keep watching it? Yeah, I'm being quiet on purpose. I go through the same thing. You're interested in something: you wanna see how it ends, so you start making excuses for things. And then you go ahead and do what you know you shouldn't do.
Then what happens, all day tomorrow is ruined because now you feel guilty. I don't wanna live like that anymore. I don't have to know how the movie ends. Just pbbbt... "Bye, going to something else". I gotta have peace. I don't wanna waste a whole day feeling guilty because I had to see this one last thing. Oh-hmm. Okay, well, what is holiness? I don't want you to, "'without holiness no one will see the Lord'. Well, does that mean I'm not gonna go to heaven"? Holiness means dedicated and consecrated to God. A holy person is a person devoted to the service of God and one who is morally and spiritually excellent. So, holiness obviously has to do with our behavior, but first and foremost, it has to do with your heart. Because until your heart is right, your behavior can never change.
So, when you get really committed to God, I mean, totally committed, and see, really, that's kinda what happened in my life, I was born again when I was a kid. Not by any fault of my parents because they never took me anywhere. But I had a knowing that I needed to be saved. I don't even know how I knew that. But I had a praying grandfather, and he was probably praying for me. And I actually snuck off to church with some relatives when we were visiting them and my dad had gone out to get drunk, which he did as often as he possibly could. And I went to the altar that night and received Christ. But the devil lied to me after that by, the first time I did something that I thought was wrong, he told me I lost my salvation.
And I never really had any kind of a relationship with God after that until I was an adult. But when I look back, I can see now, the handprint of God all over my life and how, even though I didn't understand what I had, he was taking care of me. It was one of the things that happened to me was when I was about nine years old, which was about the same time that I was born again, this determination came into me that I was gonna overcome what my dad was doing to me. And I remember laying in bed and thinking, someday I'm gonna do something great. And God puts that in you. God puts that on the inside of you. And then, I went along a churchy person, rather legalistically religious: judging, criticizing, gossiping, doing you know, all the things. I mean, I didn't go rob a grocery store or kill anybody, but I had a lot of acceptable sins in my life.
And then in 1976, there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit around the world. Some people called it the "Charismatic Movement," some called it different things, I don't care what you call it. The Holy Spirit was touching people in every denomination and in every part of the world. And I was baptized in the Holy Spirit in my car. And I was crying out to God, "Something's wrong. There's gotta be more than this. There has to be more to life than just", 'cause I would just go to church and go home, and nothing changed, go to church and go home and nothing changed. And it's not supposed to be like that. I didn't have a real hunger for God. I did love God, but I didn't love him with my whole heart, and I needed to make a much stronger commitment.
And after God touched me, and you know there's no point in even trying to explain what I mean by that. You just, if God touches you, you know it. It's just, people say, "What happened"? I don't know, God showed up and I felt like I was drunk on love for about three days. People have different experiences, or you may have no experience, but I literally felt like I was drunk on love. And I wasn't a very loving person, so there was, I mean, I even thought weeds were beautiful because God made them.
I remember, I bowled on Friday nights, and it was a Friday when that happened to me. And I remember one guy saying, "Meyer, what's with you tonight"? I was acting different: didn't even know I was acting different. And I wasn't bowling very good, and I wasn't used to hearing God talk to me. But now, the Holy Spirit had come alive inside me, and I heard him say, "Why don't you ask me to help you bowl"? And I thought, "Well, God don't care about my bowling". And see, that's what makes an intimate relationship with God so beautiful, is you learn that he cares about every single thing that you do. Everything!
The Holy Spirit was sent, the Bible says, "To be in close fellowship with us". It's not about just going to church and going home and reading your chapter a day and saying a little five-minute prayer. Somebody says, "Are you born again"? "Well, I go to church". Well, big deal. I can sit in my garage and that doesn't make me a car. But after that touch from God, I mean, I got serious about my walk with God. And I have been serious about it ever since. And when you get serious about your walk with God, you will begin to change.
Joyce Meyer: Well, today, we're gonna talk about jealousy and envy. And I think we all experience that from time to time. It's not a very good feeling. It's really hard to even admit it out loud and say, "I feel jealous". And so, I know some of you have sent in some questions and we're gonna try to answer those questions and share with you what the Word of God has to say about jealousy and envy.
Ginger Stache: You're absolutely right. I appreciate that all of these people and everyone that sent in questions they wanna deal with it. You know, they want to do this in a godly way. And I love that they're facing it and asking these questions.
Joyce Meyer: I remember a...
Ginger Stache: We've all been there.
Joyce Meyer: I'm sorry.
Ginger Stache: No.
Joyce Meyer: I remember a time when I was having trouble being jealous of someone, and I just could not get over it. And I felt like that God put on my heart to go to my husband, and just admit, to say out loud, "I am having a problem being jealous of so and so. And I want you to pray for me". And when I did that, it broke the power of it. I didn't have any problem with it after that. I think sometimes these things that we hide...
Ginger Stache: You're so right.
Joyce Meyer: Hidden things have power over us. And so, for people watching, that maybe didn't even send in a question, that could be a good answer for a lot of people is maybe you just need to go to a trusted friend and say, "I'm having trouble being jealous". Just call it what it is. Being jealous, if it's jealousy in a certain area, name it. And just say, "I'm not gonna hide this and give it power over me".
Ginger Stache: Yeah, I think that's a great idea. Not an easy thing to do.
Joyce Meyer: No.
Ginger Stache: But a powerful thing to do. All right. Here's our first question. Anne, from Illinois asks, "I've been struggling with jealousy of other women and insecurities most of my life. I know I need to change before I destroy my marriage. Can you help me"?
Joyce Meyer: One of my favorite subjects is to try to get people to understand how special and unique they are and not to... I don't think we should ever want somebody else's life. Now, I did that for a long time. You know, I wanted to look like this person or have the gifts that this person had, the talents, the abilities. And really, I think that's an affront to God. He's created us all with his own hand, "Intricately, carefully," the Bible says, "In our mother's womb". God doesn't make mistakes. And so, we need to like ourselves. I think that we only feel that way when we don't like who we are. And so, I feel like it's very healthy to love yourself in a balanced way. Not be in love with yourself, but love yourself. And that's really what it means to receive God's love. God loves us, but if you don't receive it, then you can never love yourself and you're always gonna be comparing yourself with someone else. So, we have lots of good teaching and good books on this subject. I think there was one book that I did recently called, "Uniquely you," and all kinds of good stuff to help people know who you are in Christ, and that you're special, and you don't have to be like anybody else.
Ginger Stache: Yeah. And she's right when she's talking about "Before she destroys her marriage". It can be such a devastating thing to live in that insecurity for her and for their relationship.
Joyce Meyer: And if she is jealous of other women, she may even imagine that her husband is flirting with other women or something, I don't know that, but if she says it's bothering her marriage and you just, I spent years not liking myself. And I can tell you, when you don't like yourself, you end up not liking other people either. And so, you know, someone has said, and I've repeated it, "You gotta be yourself. Everybody else is already taken". God's not going to help you be somebody else.
Ginger Stache: Yeah, all right. Susan, from North Carolina, says, "I have a huge issue with jealousy and envy. I've never been married. I have no children and I feel left out of life. I own my own home, but I wish for a nicer one. I work hard and I don't understand why I don't have what other people have".
Joyce Meyer: Well, the thing that comes to my heart, I believe, is her answer, because I do try to be led by the spirit when I'm answering these questions and not just give off pat answers. I think that she needs to start thanking God for what she does have instead of always looking at what she doesn't have and comparing her life with other people. You know, she's not married, she doesn't have children. Well, I understand how that could make a person feel. But that may give her opportunities to serve God in ways that somebody else couldn't that did have those other responsibilities. And she's got a house, but she'd like to have a bigger one. Well, how about thanking God for the one you've got? I mean, there's all kinds of people that don't own a home at all. They've never owned a home and, you know, they're just having to pay rent and throw that money away month after month. And so, I really believe that thankfulness is her answer. She needs to get really aggressive in thanking God for what she has and who she is and what God has done for her. And I think that that's gonna close that door to all those other feelings.
Ginger Stache: Yeah, okay. This is a question from Cosette. She says, "Why are some people so blessed but others are not? I try my best to do the right things. I can see how the blessed people trample over their staff, don't respect them, talk down to people. Still, they have more, and they have more to give. What is wrong with this picture"? That's the ever-lasting question in Psalms: "Why are the wicked blessed"?
Joyce Meyer: Well, she kinda gave the answer herself. She said, "These people are so blessed, but they're mean to everybody. They've got a bad attitude". Well, you're not blessed if you're mean, and you have a bad attitude because you're not happy. And so, real blessings are not all the stuff we have. It's peace and joy and righteousness. The Bible says in Romans 14:17 that "The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink", or "Stuff". But "Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost". I know, I used to be a mean person, hard to get along with, controlling, manipulative, easily offended, easily angered. And had a good job. We had two cars in the garage. We weren't hurtin' for money. We weren't rich, but we paid our bills and had a little money left over. But I wasn't blessed because of the attitude that I had. And so, people get mixed up about what blessings are. And the thing to do is to believe, with all your heart, that God gives you what you can handle at the right time. And so, maybe, if she can stop having so many questions about all these people she thinks are blessed and learn what real blessings are, she may realize that she is very blessed and just needs to lock into those blessings.
Ginger Stache: I think that's such a great distinction, really understanding what true happiness, true blessing really is.
Joyce Meyer: People are still mixed up about that. You know, how can somebody who's mean to everybody be happy?
Ginger Stache: And comparison is such a big problem.
Joyce Meyer: My father was a mean man. He was just mean to everybody. He hated everybody. He found something wrong with everybody. And you know, although he was, he received Christ when he was 83 and he died when he was 86, I'm glad that I know he's in heaven, but he wasted his whole life. He was never happy in his whole life. And so, you're not happy just because you got a lot of trinkets in your house, or you got a certain kind of car, or you make a certain amount of money. Things have no ability to make you happy.
Ginger Stache: Yeah. All right. Question from Colinda, in Colorado, "The Bible tells us about how jealousy is rottenness to the bones. Yet, it also states that God is a jealous God. I don't understand this contradiction".
Joyce Meyer: Oh, that's such a good question.
Ginger Stache: It is.
Joyce Meyer: So, people get, I mean, I even know somebody who completely lost their faith and gave up on God over that scripture. "Well, how can I believe in God if he's a jealous God"? God is not jealous like he's telling us not, you know, I should not want what you want. When the Bible says, "God is a jealous God," it means he's jealous of our time, and our affection, and our attention. That scripture is in James and it's talking about putting God first in our life and having no other Gods before him because our God is a jealous God. He loves you and he wants your time. He wants your attention. It's a good kind of jealousy.
Ginger Stache: Yeah. He's not looking at other people...
Joyce Meyer: Yeah, wanting what they have.
Ginger Stache: And comparing. Yeah.
Joyce Meyer: He wants you.
Ginger Stache: Not that type of a worldly envy, yeah.
Joyce Meyer: God wants you. He's jealous of you. He wants your time, your attention.
Ginger Stache: Which is a beautiful thing.
Joyce Meyer: Yeah. He wants to be the first person you talk to in the morning, so.
Ginger Stache: Good, okay. Marie, from Ohio, just picking which question I'm gonna go with for our last question. Marie, from Ohio, "We struggled for years in our finances and in our marriage, but we prayed, we worked hard, and we've been healed in our marriage. Now we're dealing with jealousy from people who aren't putting in the same effort. How do you handle people being jealous of your blessings"?
Joyce Meyer: Pray for 'em. I mean, that's really, you just have to pray for them. I mean, chances are you can't just say, "I know you're jealous of me. So, let me talk to you about it". But if the door ever was open, you could say, "I went through the same thing". But the best thing to do is just pray for 'em. And then also, I think, be careful when you're around those people that you don't inadvertently say things that would make them jealous. You know, sometimes... I had a friend, one time, that every time I would share a blessing, she would say, "Well, I'm in that line," you know, "I hope God does that for me someday". And I finally got to the point where I stopped sharing with her things that God did for me because of the way she responded. And so, I love it when I'm around people that are really happy for me when I'm blessed. And so, she has to just remember how she felt, that God helped her get over it and praying for people, prayer is powerful. I mean, God answers prayer. He hears our prayers, and he answers prayers. And so, that would be my advice is be careful what you say around 'em and pray for 'em.
Ginger Stache: Well, and there's just a fact that we're not responsible for how other people respond to things.
Joyce Meyer: No.
Ginger Stache: But God says that he is our vindicator.
Joyce Meyer: Right.
Ginger Stache: He'll take care of that. Like you said, our responsibility is to be as good to those people as we possibly can, in the meantime. So, thank you, Joyce. Very helpful.
Joyce Meyer: Thank you.