Jealousy often seems like something only adults deal with . . . something out of a romantic comedy or a prime-time TV show. The truth is, kids might not even know they struggle with jealousy because it’s a big, rarely-used word. However, that green monster can overcome the tiniest of kiddos.
Jealousy at its heart is discontent and selfishness. Left to grow it becomes hatred and can result in so many horrible decisions.
When the green monster of jealousy rears its ugly head, it’s important to look to the Bible to see what God says about envy and discontent. These important verses that share what the Bible says about jealousy are found in two small passages of Scripture.
The first two come from Genesis 37 where we find the story of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph’s father loved him more than any of his other sons. He even gave Joseph a special coat to honor him above the others. Genesis 37:4 (ESV) says,
“But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.”
This was the beginning of the jealousy that would ruin their relationship with each other and their father. After Joseph continued in favor with his father (and with God), his brothers, “were jealous of him”. (Genesis 37:11) And soon, Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers.
Family Activity Idea: Read the story of Joseph in Genesis 37 or in a Bible storybook. Ask, “Have you ever been so mad at your sibling and wanted to sell them?!” (Don’t be shocked if they answer, “Yes!”) Ask your children to look in the Bible to see what emotions and thoughts the brothers had about Joseph (see verses 4, 8, and 11). Discuss what would have been a better action or words to say. (Instead of hate, be excited about the new coat. Instead of not speaking peacefully, saying kind words.) Then, get out a piece of paper for each child and let them draw a design of a new coat or t-shirt for one of their siblings. Encourage them to let the design show off the great qualities and talents of their sibling. Finally, let them present the design to their sibling as a fun encouragement!
The next verses about jealousy come from James, the brother of Jesus. Imagine being the earthly brother to Jesus. It would have been easy for young James to be jealous of his (literally) perfect older brother! Instead, James recognized Jesus, not as a man or an annoying sibling, but as the Son of God!
Click over to the Minno blog to read the rest of this post which includes some fun family time activities to go with each Bible story!