How Well Do You Know the Green-Eyed Monster?


Jealousy is a green-eyed monster. If it’s hiding in the closet of your heart, it’s time to do some housecleaning.

Here’s a quick lesson in Shakespearean literature (don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz).

In Act 3, Scene 3 of Othello, Shakespeare wrote:

“The evil Iago plants doubts in Othello's mind about his wife's faithfulness, while advising him, ‘O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on’.”

That guy sure does talk funky! But, I do like the way he describes jealousy in this scene. He calls it a “green-eyed monster.” Why? Most scholars think he is referencing cats who often toy with their prey before killing it (or as Shakespeare put it “doth mock the meat it feeds on.”)

What an interesting way to consider the emotion of jealousy. Think about the last time you felt a tinge of jealousy. Did you play with the feeling a bit in your mind? Did you toy with the secret hope that the object of your jealousy would see her talents, or relationships, or favor fade? Did those feelings then become a monster in your heart? Has jealousy ever devoured your thought-life, your security, or your friendships? That’s just the kind of monster he is—one that tries to attack and devour every piece of our lives.

Consider Romans 13:12-14:

“The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexually immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

Jealousy is listed among sins like drunkenness, sexual immorality, and debauchery (which is over-indulgence). What do these sins have in common? They ultimately destroy the sinner. They are beasts who always turn on their masters—perhaps enticing in the beginning, but deadly in the end.

Galatians 5:19-21 says it this way:

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissentions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Jealousy will mess you up if you let it control you. That’s why Shakespeare calls it a monster and why God’s Word warns us so strongly against it.

Are you jealous of someone? Do you secretly envy what someone else has? Confess it to God. It isn’t okay. It isn’t a normal part of being a woman. Jealousy is a green-eyed monster. If it’s hiding in the closet of your heart, it’s time to do some housecleaning.

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