Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Acts 17:1-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
After Paul and Silas had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three sabbath days argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This is the Messiah, Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you.” Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews became jealous, and with the help of some ruffians in the marketplaces they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. While they were searching for Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly, they attacked Jason’s house. When they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some believers before the city authorities, shouting, “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has entertained them as guests. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus.” The people and the city officials were disturbed when they heard this, and after they had taken bail from Jason and the others, they let them go.
Jealousy has been wreaking havoc on humankind ever since the beginning of history. Cain killed Abel because God favored Abel. Leah and Rachel, Jacob’s wives, spent their lives contending for Jacob’s favor and, later, Leah’s sons concocted a plot to kill Rachel’s son Joseph because Jacob favored him.
It wasn’t until I started researching my mother’s family history that I truly understood the destructive power of jealousy. Even as a young child, I always felt the presence of an uncomfortable “tension” at every family gathering, but I didn’t know its name. As I began collecting family stories from my aunts, uncles, and cousins, it became quite apparent that the tension’s name was “Jealousy.” From my great-great-grandparents’ generation down through my mother’s generation, unbridled jealousy torched marriages, relationships, and reputations, and left behind a smoldering trail of broken lives.
“The Jews became jealous” so they formed a mob, incited a riot, and dragged innocent people before the authorities. Did their jealous reaction bring about their desired outcome? No: it never does. Paul and Silas went on to preach in other cities, and the church in Thessalonica doubled in size between this event and when Paul sent Timothy back to check on them.
Lord God, we in the church are as guilty as those in the world when it comes to allowing our petty jealousies to destroy relationships. How many times have jealousies over who sings the solo, or who chooses the carpet, or who presides over an event “torched” congregations? We are embarrassed and broken by our behavior. Please forgive us. We ask you to change us, from people who make comparisons and crave attention into people with a genuine desire to encourage and lift up others. Amen
Go with God!