Week 5 | The Green-Eyed Monster?
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This week 6 Pax met at Adventure Park and 1 HIM called in remotely to continue our latest book study: Fathering Like the Father. All Pax are invited and encouraged to attend. While we are now about 35% of the way through the book, there is no pre-requisite to jump in. Read this backblast and the attached homework and come join us next Saturday at 6:15am for Chapter 6. Next week we will be discussing truthfulness and how to combat our cultural perversions. This week we discussed Chapter 5 – The Green-Eyed Monster (jealousy).
I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness.…I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy…so that I might present you as a pure virgin to [Christ]. — 2 Corinthians 11:1-2
Two seriously ill men in a hospital ward had been placed in a double room that was bare except for two bedside lockers. One door led into the busy hallway, and there was one window.
For an hour each day the nurses would prop up one of the men to drain fluid from his lungs. As it happened, he had the bed by the window. Total rest and quiet were necessary for both of them—no reading, no radio, no television. For hours each day they talked about their families, their jobs, their hobbies, their experiences in the military, places they had visited on vacation, and scores of other subjects.
As the man by the window (let’s call him Sam) sat up each day, he described for his roommate (Bill) what he could see out the window. Bill lived for those descriptions, and they became the highlight of his day. Since the window apparently overlooked a small park with a lake, Sam would talk about children playing, lovers walking hand in hand, the trees and flowers, and the view of the city skyline just beyond the boundaries of the park. With practice, Bill could even visualize things Sam described and was grateful to see the world through the eyes of another.
But one day Bill heard the description of a parade and a little peck of envy punctured his balloon of joy at receiving only secondhand reports of the world. He asked himself, Why should Sam be the one who sees everything? Why shouldn’t I have the bed by the window and a chance to look out once in a while?
The attitude eroded his joy and took control of his mind. He went into deep moodiness and depression and, instead of recuperating, became more seriously ill.
One night over by the window, Sam began to cough and choke, shaking so violently that his hands couldn’t find the nursing call button. In the next bed, Bill watched without a sound. The coughing continued in the darkness until all of a sudden it stopped—and Bill continued to stare at the ceiling.
When the morning nurse came in for baths, she found Sam dead. Quietly they removed the body. As soon as it seemed appropriate, Bill asked to be moved to the bed by the window. The nurse tucked him in and left him alone, quiet and still. As soon as she had gone, Bill struggled to prop himself up. When he had pulled the curtain back, he discovered to his dismay that the window faced a brick wall!
There are 2 kinds of jealousy, positive and negative. This story provides a great example of the wrong type of jealousy.
Call Me “Jealous”
- Exodus 34:14 (NIV): Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
- Because God is jealous for his own people, he is zealous that their love and dependence focus completely on him.
- James 4:4-5 (NIV): You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?
Prophet and Prostitute
- God actually said to this prophet, “Take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness”
- The purpose of Hosea’s book (and of his bizarre behavior) emphasizes God’s intent to show the heartache that he felt at the betrayal of his bride, Israel.
- Hosea 2:16, 19–20
- Not only does a husband’s love for his wife and children form the very foundation on which a marriage and family structure are built, it makes us like Hosea, willing to put up with everything from minor irritations to outright betrayal and still practice biblical jealousy as we father like the Father.
Practicing Biblical Jealousy
- Our jealous God, who wants us to be vigilant in guarding the possession of family, which he has entrusted to us, has identified some areas in which he wants that positive jealousy demonstrated.
Biblical Jealousy as Commitment
Fathers who practice godly jealousy concerning their families usually demonstrate at least four commitments:
- a commitment to God’s will
- a commitment to their wives
- a commitment to their children
- a commitment to lifelong love of family
Biblical Jealousy as Covenant
- All marriages include promises. Much of our family life rests on how well we keep them—not only between husband and wife but between parents and children.
- The covenant is the promise we make.
- The commitment is what we do about the promise.
Biblical Jealousy as Relationship
- We believe companionship stands as the primary purpose of marriage.
- In Genesis 2:18 God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
- Parenting follows partnering.
- Everything else takes a lower place of esteem, because when companionship doesn’t work, the family can’t function.
Biblical Jealousy as Lifestyle
- We see the initial design as God created it—one man and one woman in the Garden. Then sin entered the world, and all kinds of aberrations became common in human experience.
- Biblical jealousy involves a daily decision and desire to work on the marriage.
- Let’s remember that fathering is not a formula and marriage is not mathematics.
Making It Work
- Be willing to accept that jealousy has a positive side, even to the point of being grateful that your wife and children want more of you and your time.
- Examine your heart for any evidence of a need for positive jealousy. If family members have not been providing the kind of relationship you need, don’t pout or become angry; talk to them directly about it and develop a strategy to improve in the future.
- Learn to practice a severe positive jealousy of your family above your job and career.
Questions for Discussion
- How do you harmonize God’s love and mercy with the attribute of jealousy?
- Name some ways jealousy can help a family.
- Review your covenant of marriage. Consider renewing it in some formal and public way. In fact think about how you might include your commitment to your children in that covenant.
- What are the differences between positive and negative jealousy?
- Dad, describe for your kids the loving jealousy you have for your wife. Help them understand this positive attribute of God.
- Kids, how would you describe your commitment to your family? Explain to your dad your understanding of positive jealousy.
Homework for 7/20
- Chapter 6 | Truth or Consequences
- Father / Child Dialogue
Thoughts for the week:
- How did your parents teach you that lying is unacceptable?
- What issues are active in your children’s lives right now that could impinge on their ability to reflect God’s character of truth? How can you help them resolve those issues?
- What are some ways you can improve on your truth-learning? Could you do more serious Bible study, take notes during the pastor’s sermon, read about the truth distortion in contemporary culture?