Jealous thoughts cause trouble
Yapping all the time
You know they’re listening for rumours
So that they can drop a dime
–Jealousy, Club Nouveau*

I’m not a jealous person by nature.

It’s not that I don’t value my relationships or don’t get worked up about them, but I’m just not all that jealous a person. I’d like to believe it’s because I’m pretty secure in my relationships. More likely, it’s because I’ve seen the dark side of jealousy a few times too many. It’s a surprisingly short jump to go from following our significant other to their home and through their routine to buying a weapon, strapping on a diaper, and driving cross country to straighten someone out.

We recently had a discussion about jealousy at one of our gatherings. Though jealousy has been called “the dark side of love”, it has at its root zeal and envy that revolves around a sense of passion. Like with many things, it can be good and it can be twisted into something bad. The good side of jealousy is simply a protective reaction in a perceived threat to a valued relationship. It guards against trespassers into the relationship.

When it goes bad, it’s an unchecked passion, love twisted into an unhealthy obsession and irrational possessiveness. Jealous becomes a weapon to guilt, scare, or trap a partner in a relationship. (It’s funny how our jealousy seems perfectly reasonable, but our Significant Other’s jealousy is some kind of character defect.)

God describes Himself as a jealous God (Exodus 34:14), so obviously this can’t be a bad thing, right? We need to remember that we were created in God’s image and while we are quick to anthropomorphize God, He doesn’t have our qualities perfectly, we have divine qualities imperfectly.

So yes, there are times when we are to be jealous in our relationships. We don’t want to run so far away from anything approaching jealous that we develop a pathological tolerance, an emotional disinterest, or the absence of jealousy where we’d expect to see it. We want to guard those relationships that matter to us … just check yourself before you find yourself knee deep in bushes in order to check your man (because, if it gets to that point, you probably have all the answers to any questions you have anyway).

*Probably the most depressing thing about this blog was the fact that I found the lyrics to this song on a site called “Golden Oldies”. Oy.

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