A Portrait of Jealousy

Dorothy Hostetter

READ : Genesis 30:1-24

Jealousy is ugly. Rachel, who had almost everything, was jealous of her sister Leah, who had nothing but four babies. Rachel was beautiful and loved. But she wanted it all. She never gave a thought to her sister’s rejection; stuck in a marriage without love.

Rachel’s jealousy blinded her. She tried to hold Jacob responsible for not giving her children. Jacob dumped the responsibility back in her lap. So Rachel turned to a surrogate mother, her maidservant. And even while Jacob acknowledged God’s rule over his life, he failed to do the obvious. He didn’t pray. He blamed God.

Rachel prayed-sort of. She felt vindicated by the birth of her first surrogate child and triumphant after the birth of the second. “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and

I have won”

! With this heartless declaration, Rachel’s beautiful face is disfigured by the ugliness of utter self-centeredness.

Jealousy grows so easily. It takes root when we fail to be thankful. It thrives when we close our eyes to the needs of others. It flourishes in competition. It overwhelms our judgment. It is a cruel and destructive master. But God has a cure. “If you are guided by the Spirit, you won’t obey your selfish desires” (Gal. 5:16).


Lord, may I recognize jealousy in my own heart and allow you, the master physician, to make me whole. Amen.