1Cor 13  God is love – Love is … not jealous

The Bible invests more effort on this topic than most people might think. Certainly, having a prohibition of jealousy among the descriptors on this list is a major endorsement. But have you ever considered that this topic is addressed in the Ten Commandments? It is, in fact, the ‘tenth’ commandment.

You may recognize it as “Thou shalt not covet … anything that belongs to your neighbor.” from Exodus 20:17.  Before you tell me these are not the same, let’s agree to remove the idea of relational jealousy from our description. Merriam Webster defines jealous as, “hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage: ENVIOUS.” Certainly, the desire for another person’s perceived advantages is at minimum very similar to this Hebrew word for covet, chamad, which means to desire something.

Perhaps it works better this way.

You should not desire your neighbor’s stuff, because that becomes jealousy and jealousy is not a part of love.

I’m taking the extra time to give this some biblical context because I want it to be clear. The dissolution of this teaching has us behaving like it is okay for us to attack others because of their perceived or actual advantage.

It becomes our excuse for not loving them. It becomes our excuse for disregarding them. I did not know the name of the owner of Amazon until he became synonymous with greed and privilege. People even say that the government should take away his money. I don’t understand that. He has a lot it’s true. But as I understand it, he earned it. I really don’t want to pick who gets to keep what they earned and who does not.

But if we are to love our neighbor like Jesus, we can’t use their perceived advantage as our excuse to hate.

Love is not envious, jealous or covetous.

I understand that these are high standards. I realize that imitating Jesus is an Everest-sized goal, but there is no question that it is the goal set out for Christianity.

Don’t be afraid to engage it. With God’s help our love could be patient, kind and not jealous …

And that might make a difference.



“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.” Luke 6:35 MSG

Jealous – hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage: ENVIOUS – Merriam Webster Dictionary