THE FURTHEST THING FROM LOVE

by Margaret Becker

Jealousy.

What an ugly word.  It had always struck me as something you feel for an enemy, not a friend.  That's what I thought until one night when Kim and I went to a party together.

Kim was one of these friends who was always fun to be around, the center of attention.  This evening was no different, and everyone seemed to be entirely focused on her.  I enjoyed her too, until I tried to share a story with the group and felt the attention drain away from me and quickly return to Kim.  That's when the feeling began.

It was a sick feeling in my stomach, somewhere between sadness and anger.  It seemed the more attention people gave Kim, the worse the feeling got.  I thought to myself, This can't be jealousy.  Kim's my best friend! But I couldn't stop the feeling.

That was the first of many times when I felt bothered by the attention Kim received.  Sometimes, I would get angry with Kim for no reason.  The worst part was that I couldn't control these feelings.  They controlled me.  Kim noticed it too and asked me what was wrong.  I was too ashamed to say anything.  So I said nothing.

Then one evening, when I was reading my Bible, I saw myself in this verse: "Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?" (Proverbs 27:4).  I thought about what the verse said.  Anger is a raging emotion.  Fury fuels wars.  Yet who can stand before jealousy?  It seemed jealousy was the strongest emotion of the three, and very hard to overcome.

As I agonized over my jealousy, I begged God to help me understand what was going on in me.  I also asked myself some hard questions: Where did this jealousy come from? Was it that I was afraid of losing a friendship? Afraid that my worst fears about myself were true? Afraid that I wasn't cool, or interesting, or that Kim was better than me?

I came to this conclusion: My jealousy was all about fear.  I had to get rid of that fear.

Although it was hard to do, I asked God to forgive me.  I also asked Him to calm my fears and help me concentrate on Him and His opinion of me more than anyone else's.  I asked Him to continually work on this area of my life until its hold was broken.  I asked for His wisdom and strength as I worked through my feelings.

God answered my prayer.  It was tough.  But in time, I found myself smiling more when Kim spoke.  I found myself listening to her, instead of worrying that she was grabbing everyone's attention.

I was glad for these changes.  After all, jealousy was the furthest thing from love, and I wanted to love my best friend.