How Does Jealousy Affect Us?
by Zack Howard
Haman was the Persian King Ahasuerus’s highest official, and in charge of every other official in the king’s court. Haman was a very prideful character, and eventually we see him jealous of another official, Mordecai. Mordecai was praised by the king for various deeds he does, which includes thwarting an assassination attempt. As Haman’s jealousy grew, we see how dangerous it is.
1. Jealousy is Divisive.
As Haman becomes more and more jealous with Mordecai, it divides the kingdom. Mordecai was promoted to the same position Haman holds, and this unraveled Haman. Haman was so jealous of Mordecai being praised and recognized for his good deeds, he looked for a way to cast out Mordecai, instead of working with him to make the kingdom better. Haman focused on Mordecai being Jewish, and created a plan that made the Jews seem vile, and pitted the rest of the country against them. Haman’s jealousy divided the people. Our jealousy can do the same. When we are jealous, it puts a barrier between us and those around us. We constantly compare our actions with others, and our rewards with others. If we don’t seem to be given the same praise and recognition others do, then we begin to feel targeted. Our jealousy will divide the local church from working together for good, and cause us to focus only on how others are blessed differently than ourselves, and how we think we deserve more. Jealousy divides people and causes them to focus only on themselves.
2. Jealousy is Destructive.
Secondly, as Haman’s jealousy of Mordecai grew, he hatched a plan to get rid of Mordecai forever. Haman’s jealousy created a plan that is destructive and vicious towards the Jewish population in Persia. His plan, 4.8-11, was to hire men to eradicate the Jewish population.
8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not to the king’s profit to tolerate them. 9 If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king’s business, that they may put it into the king’s treasuries.” 10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. 11
Haman convinced Ahasuerus that the Jews were a detriment to the Persian kingdom, and that destroying them would benefit the treasury of the king. Jealousy made Haman destructive towards an entire people! Many times our jealousy does the same for us: we set out on hurting others/ruining things in their lives because we are jealous of what they have. We may gossip about them, or spread rumors about their character, or we may get in physical altercations with them. Jealousy is destructive.
3. Jealousy Ruins Us.
Finally, the life that is most impacted by jealousy is Haman’s. Mordecai set out to save the Jews. Mordecai enlisted the help of his relative, Esther, the queen of the Persians—a Jew. With her help, they flipped Haman’s plan on its head. Haman is put to death for his treachery (7.7-10), and the Jewish people were given a decree that gave them immunity for defending themselves against those that wished harm upon them (8.10-14). Haman’s jealousy literally kills him. Our jealousy can ruin our lives. As we set out to satisfy it, we lose focus of what matters: God. Jealousy takes us away from pleasing God, which takes us away from his salvation. Jealousy ruins us.
Haman’s story shows the consequences that come from jealousy. Jealousy is divisive, destructive and ruins those who are jealous. Haman is here to warn us that our jealousy can cause us problems, and we have to identify and fix the issue when it pops up.