Why is it so hard to celebrate the successes of others? It might be because of jealousy. Dictionary.com defines jealousy this way: resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, or against another’s success or advantage itself. Jealousy is a normal emotion that just about everyone experiences. But, jealousy can grow into anger and bitterness. And those destructive emotions could lead to a brutal negative spiral in your life.
There have been several times I’ve thought of the story of the prodigal son in the bible. The younger son blows all of his father’s inheritance money in wild living and is left with nothing. He comes to his senses, decides to humbly return to his father wanting only to be a servant of his and not expecting anything. Luke records the father’s reaction to the return of his son. But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:22-24
But the older brother reacted differently. Verse 28 says, “The older brother became angry.” I hate to say it, but I think that’s how I would have reacted. But the father, like our Heavenly Father reaches out in grace and not judgement. Let’s take our marching orders from God and not “the older brother.” That kind of jealously will always hurt you more than anyone else.