A Brief Look Inside the Book
Hope in These Light Afflictions Day 6- I’m Jealous
*All week, we will be taking pieces of a devotional I wrote on marital infidelity, Hope in These Light Afflictions. The story is mine and shares many thoughts and feelings from that part of my life’s journey. While it was a season of incredible emotional pain, it also opened the door to becoming better acquainted with the Great Comforter. My prayer is that our story will point others facing similar pain to Jesus. Additionally, I pray that some of the things I learned through that period of time would be a help to even just one.
He was mine—I loved him and called him mine for twenty-five years. I laughed with him, cried with him, served with him, and lived with him. He was my husband, and no one else could say that about him. I really like chocolate cake, but if the piece is big enough, and I like you, I’ll probably be willing to share it with you. But I did not want to share my husband with another woman—he was off limits.
I tried pretty hard not to think about her, and most of the time I was successful—but not always. In the dark of night when the house was silent, I was tormented with wonderings. I wondered what she was like. I wondered what she said about me. I wondered what it was about her specifically that would cause my husband to turn his back on all of us. Why would she get involved with a married man? How could she replace me? These were the wrestlings of my mind, but of course I also wondered something else—what did she look like?
To be honest, I made a mental picture of her that wasn’t really fair. All I knew is that if she was able to lure him away, she was the enemy and I wanted her gone immediately. Even as I struggled with these feelings, I also knew something that was absolutely true: God loved her. Yes, He loves me too, and He chose me for my husband, but that didn’t change the fact that God also loved her. He didn’t like her choices or what she was doing, but it didn’t change the simple fact that He came to die for her just as He came to die for me. The motivation to do this for both of us was the same—love. As much as I wanted to despise her, this truth called me to something infinitely harder.
I came to the point that I could lift her up in prayer, and still do, though, I confess, not often enough. At times I had visions that were far short of Christian—visions of revenge. But when I give in to those thoughts or feelings, I am guilty of sin myself. God asks some really hard things of His children, and one really tough command is that we are to love our enemies. It’s not written in a complicated way, with an escape clause for situations this difficult; it simply says we are to love them.
Looking back, I have come to understand that this woman—a woman who doesn’t know Christ—isn’t the one who betrayed me. She did not make any promises to me. She was not the enemy, no matter how my heart felt about her. This helped to release feelings of jealousy and allow Christ to work in me and the sinful feelings I had deep in my heart and mind. And when I gave it further thought, I realized something else: I was guilty of turning my back on God for things I cherished more than I cherished Him.
Jealousy, while a natural response to the betrayer’s partner, must be properly dealt with and not allowed to take root in your heart. It’s a cancer that destroys, and from it, hatred and bitterness easily develop. Focus on the real problem at hand and seek to find ways for godly resolution. Even our sinful thoughts and feelings are known to God; we can take those to Him and confess them, knowing He is a God of mercy and grace. While I’m a continual work in progress with learning to love my enemies, God certainly gave opportunity in this situation. What will I do with it?
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. (Luke 6:27, ESV)
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. (Luke 6:35, ESV)
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9, ESV)