I saw a quote on a sign once that said “Jealousy looks terrible on you, but you continue to wear it.” That’s always stuck with me as a reminder of the things we “wear” that the world can see on us. We wouldn’t dare leave our house with two different shoes or mismatched clothes. We would notice pretty immediately and go change because we don’t want to walk around looking ridiculous. You wouldn’t continue wearing something that looks terrible on you, it’s just not in our nature to do that. Sometimes, we don’t realize how much we carry pain, jealousy, bitterness, pride and hurt with us and wear them on the outside for the world around us to see.
In Romans 13, Paul writes about our duties as a follower of Christ and reminds us of the commandments. In verses 8-10, we are shown that love is our primary goal as a Christian. “LOVE is the fulfillment of the law”, he states in verse 10. He sets all this up to say that our time is fleeting and soon Christ will return and to turn away from the darkness and to the Light of Christ. He urges us to “put on Christ”, basically to cover ourselves in who God is and let Him cover everything else.
There’s no room to wear our jealously when we are putting on Christ first!
Since we look terrible in jealousy, how do we as parents help our kids overcome this horrible sin of our flesh? Let’s talk through a couple of key ideas to help your kids with walking through and overcoming jealousy.
First and most importantly, remind them to put on Christ. Encourage your kids to always invite God to cover them before they allow themselves to start wearing jealousy around. Here are some scriptures to point your kids to if they are dealing with jealousy.
Next, focus on teaching gratitude in your home. This starts with you too! Grasping a sense of gratitude for what you have – material possessions, personal skills and characteristics – can make a huge difference in the way your kids (and you!) approach jealousy. Work on some ways you can help your children have gratitude in their specific situations. Practice this WITH them, and you will find you become more grateful for where you are too!
For me personally, this is different for each of my kids. One of my kids is artsy, so she becomes more confident when I tell her how great her art work looks and remind her how creative she is. I tell her that God created her so special, unlike anyone else. What can show your children just how special and set apart they are?
Here are a few ideas to practice fostering gratitude in your home:
Just say no to negative talk! If you catch your kids saying negative things about themselves, their work or their gifts – NIX THAT! Help them to understand that moments don’t define them, even if they feel like they fail. Remind them that we all must fail to get up and try again.
Focus on life experiences rather than “stuff”. We have a large family, so our kids don’t always get the newest toys, clothes or games. But we work hard to create fun life experiences for them to build memories and show love. If their love tank is always full, they won’t feel as jealous by the kid at school with the brand new bike or expensive jeans.
Preaching to the choir. Are you constantly coveting your neighbor’s new car or wishing for something new and better in life? If your kids hear you talking about your jealousy, they will follow your lead. This is a hard pill to swallow, one I too deal with every day. It starts with us, parents!
Jealousy is a tough subject to tackle, because it’s naturally in us as humans. Let’s remember to put on Christ and not wear that jealousy around, because it doesn’t look good on us! As parents, we need to be constantly doing heart checks of our kids to help them stay on the right path before they get lost in a sea of jealousy.
Have you faced jealousy issues with your kids? How have you helped them through?