October 10, 2015

Jealousy and Anger: Good Emotions?

Proverbs 6:20-24, 32-34

Jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.

—  Proverbs 6:34

When combined, anger and jealousy can be lethal. Yet both can also enhance life. The Bible says God is jealous, not willing to share what’s due only to him, just as a husband or wife is jealous regarding the affec­tion of their spouse. Anger is a feeling we experience, as Jesus did, when there’s injustice (see Mark 3:5; 11:15-17). Regretfully, it is more often motivated in us by selfishness or a desire for revenge.

Called to live in obedience to God’s will, we need the guidance of his Word. Proverbs points us in the right direction as it deals with life from a perspective of godly wisdom.

How we deal with anger and jealousy reveals our determination to be more like Jesus, who experienced these emotions too. Healthy jealousy indicates a deep and committed relationship. Righteous anger reveals that sins anger not only God but also those who observe or experience wrongdoing or injustice.

The practical teaching and observations found in Proverbs provide necessary safeguards or warnings. Emotions enhance the joy of living but require containment as well as restraint. So we need to ask ourselves the question God asked Cain, “Why are you angry?” (Genesis 4:6). A similar question could be asked about unhealthy jealousy: “Why are you feeling jealousy?” Answering honestly will help us to be more Christlike.

Father, help us to be aware of when and why we experience anger and jealousy so that we may not sin against you and others. In Christ, Amen.

About the author — George Vink

Pastor George Vink has served as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church for more than 30 years in British Columbia, Montana, Michigan, and California. He and his wife, Shirley, have four married sons and nine grandchildren.

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