Jealousy is not Sinful
By Carlton Foster – February 15, 2020
Just a few days ago I was reading a Christian article where the author said Jealousy is a sin! The article said, “Lucifer feels jealous of Christ. Lucifer was envious and jealous of Jesus Christ.” The article continues to say, “Jealousy is such a dangerous feeling to harbor that in the Ten Commandments themselves, alongside the forbiddance of murder and theft, there is the command against covetousness.” The author is saying that jealousy is covetousness. This belief, which is incorrect, is a deep-rooted deception perpetuated against God to bring into our faith, confusion. Why? Because the Bible said in Exodus 34:14, “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
The notion that the acts of jealousy are sinful, but God is a jealous God is an oxymoron! The statement that jealousy is sinful and that God is a jealous God contradicts itself! So where does the notion that jealousy is sinful came from? Jealous as defined by a dictionary says, “feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages”. If we look up the Etymology of Jealousy, we would see most of the words for ‘envy’ … had from the outset a hostile force, based on ‘look at’ (with malice), ‘not love,’ etc. Conversely, most of those which became distinctive terms for ‘jealousy’ were originally used also in a good sense, ‘zeal, emulation.’ [Buck, pp.1138-9] (Origin and meaning of jealous by Online Etymology Dictionary). The word “jealousy” came from an old French word. They redefined the Biblical meaning of jealousy. So, if the Bible says God is a jealous God, how would you explain the word of God against a man-made Dictionary?
For Christians to say that Jealousy is sinful and we have a jealous God is confusing. This makes no sense! Exodus 20:5 “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” From looking at the Bible meaning of the word, jealous can show deep affection and care, a love of the unfortunate, zeal to restore them, an act of imitating that which is good. To not be jealous (from a biblical viewpoint) can show a spirit of neglect, uncaring, no love. So what happens to this definition? Over the years, since the redefinition of the word Jealousy by France, we have now coined jealousy with envy and covetousness. Envy is a sin and envy does not have the components of love and care. So it stands to reason that the biblical definition of jealousy is not envy, and as Christians, we should not accept the worldly definition the word jealousy.
Nahum 1:2 “God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.” As well as Exodus 20:5, “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” And many more Bible verses show that God is concerned and wants to restore his people who are turning to evil. He loves them and cares for them and wants to see the betterment of his people. In none of the passages did it show that God was insecure and envious of the forces of darkness who were changing the hearts of His people. The new Bible Translations now have the word “envy” replaced with the word “jealousy”: Gal 5:19, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God (NIV).”
If the Bible said God is a jealous God, and his name is Jealous, then the acid test is to change the word jealous in articles of today and replace it with the word God. You will see that the definition does not apply to a Christian belief. For example, “Lucifer feels jealous godly of Christ. Lucifer was envious and jealous godly of Jesus Christ. Jealousy God is such a dangerous feeling to harbor that in the Ten Commandments themselves, alongside the forbiddance of murder and theft, there is the command against covetousness God.”
When man replaced the meaning and definition of the word jealousy, it was an attack on the word of God. It was meant to confuse the belief in a Biblical God to one where he is insecure and sinful. One of my Christian friends said, “I agree that jealousy is sinful because lots of people lost their lives because of that sinful act of jealousy. Look at Cain kill his brother Abel because of jealousy. Joseph was put in a pit and sold as a slave because his brothers were jealous of him.” This is the view many Christians have for the actions and thought of a jealous person. Instead of using the word envious, they use jealousy. But they are stunted when you ask, “why then does the Bible says that God is a jealous God?” They have no real answer. Some said that the word “jealousy” has two meanings. The good acts of jealousy go to God, and the bad acts of jealousy go to Satan. But when you asked for the “good” acts of jealousy, they cannot find one, because the word “jealousy” in their mind conjures up sinful actions. “Yes,” as one Baptist Pastor said, “in courtship, it can be gratifying to learn that something you did makes your beloved jealous. But jealousy is more nearly associated with a clutching, anxious, petty, or domineering frame of mind. The jealous party tends to nervously investigate and suffocate the object of affection, disregarding the other’s wellbeing.” (http://www.bpnews.net/28150/oprah-and-a-jealous-god).
The Devil and the “Man of Sin” have tainted our concept over the years, so that today we see human envy as jealousy. But if God is a jealous God, then the unbelievers will say we have a sinful – jealous God. They will say our Bible says he is Jealous. I saw a comment in an online article where Kendall Beaman said, “Jealousy tends to lead to behavior that is a sin but not always. The reason I commented on this was I did have someone approach me stating that the Bible said jealousy is a sin (It does not) and that then it says that God is jealous. For this reason and others, he rejected the Bible as contradictory, so I find it very important to be clear on terminology whenever possible.” (https://ssnet.org/blog/sunday-jealous-souls/#comment-109992).
I also saw a video where Oprah Winfrey reports that her impatience with “rules, belief systems and doctrines” began when she, in her late 20s, heard a Baptist pastor say that God was jealous. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2SrZJlPnjk). And she said that statement did not feel right in her spirit. It is also true today, that such a statement will not feel right when our “brain-washed” minds told us that jealousy is sinful. The same thing that happened to Oprah can happen to many young Christians who are not strong in the Word (of the Bible). The plan to redefine the biblical meaning of Jealousy is of the Evil One. This plan is being preached in our churches without the proper corrected explanation. I listened to some online Bible Study programs, and they are also preaching that jealousy is sinful.
Whenever these dilemmas confront us, most leaders quickly skipped over it or silently ignored it because inwardly they too are confused and cannot explain it. Sometimes, while trying to explain it, they ended up saying contradictory statements which further drives a wedge in the Christian belief.
In summary, jealousy is not sinful and it is not envious. Jealousy shows deep affection, love and care for those who are being mistreated or are going down a slippery road to destruction. To not be jealous can show neglect, no love, a “don’t care attitude” toward erring ones; however, over the years, the Devil has successfully brain-washed us to coined jealousy with envy. Envy is a sin and envy does not have the components of love and care; jealousy instead shows love; that is why the Bible said God is love and He is a jealous God. We should not replace envy with the word jealousy. We should not accept any narratives that show jealousy as sinful, and we should not divide the meaning of jealousy between God and Satan – the Bible did not divide it.