When was the last time that you looked at what someone else had and felt a lesser person because you didn’t have the same thing? Be it a new car, a happy marriage, or a great career. Funny how those comparisons can drag us down.
A recent UK study reported in Science Focus Magazine found that how much people have compared to others has a significant impact on their happiness. The idea is that if we can maintain the same standard of living as those around us, we experience a higher level of wellbeing and so we feel happier. If we can’t, we don’t.
“Relative deprivation”, as it’s known, happens regardless of “absolute poverty”. So you can live in a wealthy neighbourhood, but if your neighbour has a shiny, expensive new car and you don’t, according to the science that’s likely to make you unhappy.
It sounds nuts, doesn’t it? But there you go. And the more materialism grips our souls, the truer it becomes. I remember, way back in the dim, distant past now, how envy used to burn in my heart when someone else had something that I didn’t.
Job 5:2 A fool’s anger will kill him. His jealousy will destroy him.
Let’s keep this simple … I mean, really simple. Jealousy comes in many different forms. Sometimes, as it was with me, it’s a burning sense of injustice that I don’t have what you have. That’s at the extreme end. At the other end is what that UK study found: it robs us of the enjoyment of all that we do have.
“Relative deprivation” is just a fancy term for jealousy. And what does God’s Word say? Jealousy will destroy you, no matter how it manifests itself in your life.
Look around. God’s given you rather a lot. Don’t allow jealousy to rob you of your ability to enjoy it.
That’s His Word. Fresh … for you … today.