A Time to Kill Hidden Sins

A time to kill and a time to heal. Eccl. 3:3 #newnessoflife #bible

Today’s post about killing hidden sins is based on chapter 4 of my book, Newness of Life.
Newness of Life by Sarah Geringer #newnessoflife #biblestudy

It’s time to kill the hidden sins in my heart.  The ones I don’t voice to the world, because they would make me seem petty and mean.  The sins I hold closely and keep feeding with self-pity.

But I’m taking a chance and revealing one of those hidden sins to you today.  

My hidden sin is jealousy.

When I get caught up in the whirlwind of this busy (and expensive) season of raising three children, I start a secret comparison game.

She’s going on vacation…again this year…and we haven’t taken one since 2013.

She’s got a beautiful new outfit on…again…and mine always come from the clearance rack or consignment sales.

She’s looking so slim…and I haven’t got my steps in today, again.

She’s so successful…and I am still just a secretary.

Is it just me, or does jealousy rear its ugly head in your heart too?

The funny thing is, I have felt the sting of others’ jealousy in the past.  In high school and college, girls told me outright they were jealous of my talents and academic achievements.  They let my gifts stand in the way of creating connection.  I was bewildered by their comments–I was simply being myself, an artist and scholar.  I wasn’t trying to offend anyone, and I wasn’t bragging.  Their jealousy killed the chances of us ever having friendship.  And I promised myself not to let others’ gifts get in the way of friendship.

But I don’t always keep that promise.  My jealousy sets a barrier between me and potential friends now.  Jealousy keeps me isolated and discontent.

How am I killing this sin of jealousy?  

Practicing thankfulness.  Every time I genuinely thank God for my current situations, my jealousy weakens.  Sure, we don’t travel as much as I would like.  But my income provides for our children to attend a private Christian school, which is vitally important.  And my job allows me to stay at home with them on holidays and in the summer, which is a blessing others don’t have.  I must treasure my current situation to stay out of the comparison trap.  I want to overflow with thankfulness (Colossians 2:6-7) rather than discontentment.

Resting in God’s provision.  As my children grow so quickly, they constantly need more clothes and more food.  I often worry about this and jealously compare myself to others who don’t appear to have those worries.  When I turn to Matthew 6:25-34, I feel settled and I cease striving for answers.  I reflect on how God has always provided in the past, and renew my trust that He will continue to provide for the future.

Delighting in God’s design.  I haven’t been skinny since second grade, and skinny is not God’s design for my body.  I’m tired of comparing myself to willowy shapes.  I’m working to accept my pear shape and make healthy choices, and I’m believing that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14).

Trusting in God’s timing.  Even though I have big dreams, I don’t know when they will come to life.  I am in a season of obscurity, and I’m trusting that God’s timing is perfect.  Being jealous of others’ time in the light is stunting my character growth.  I must trust that God is working out his plans in my current season (Proverbs 3:5-6).

4 ways to kill the hidden sin of jealousy. #newnessoflife Click To Tweet

Questions for reflection: (please comment below)

Do you also struggle with the hidden sin of jealousy?  How are you killing it?

Which of the verses listed above helps you most today?

How to kill your hidden sins. #newnessoflife #bible #biblestudy

My book Newness of Life will help you apply Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 so you can understand God’s plan in your current season.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

No matter what season you are in, God is teaching you valuable lessons to grow your faith and trust in Him.  We will discover what God is saying through the different times and activities we traverse.

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  • Sarah,
    Wow! What a great post. Thanks for your complete honesty and transparency. I wish I could say I didn’t struggle with some level of jealousy but I do. I have wanted to go to Israel for MANY years. I have studied Hebrew History since Bible College, prepared and taught an Old Testament survey. I love studying the culture…This year one of my BFF’s and prayer partner started working on a Christian Television show as a host. I was so excited for her but then she got to go to Israel for the show. My wonderful friend felt so bad she didn’t even tell me. I felt so bad to know she was worried to tell me. I wish I could say I didn’t have any feelings of jealousy, but that would be lying. I did feel jealousy and I felt guilty for feeling it. I was so happy for my friend and the doors God was opening for her, but frustrated with my green feelings. To conquer jealousy I first admit it to God and repent of my ugly heart. I always try to say something positive and encouraging to the person who has been blessed…even when I don’t ‘feel’ so warm and fuzzy for their new blessing. I don’t want to lose out on what God has for my future because I can’t ‘rejoice with those who rejoice’. If this doesn’t keep the jealousy away I will say out loud, when no one’s home, positive thoughts about the person’s blessing. This usually does the trick. That’s just how I roll. And if you’re reading this Wendy, you know I love you and I am truly happy for the breakthroughs in your life and in Kevin’s. Very glad one of us four got to experience the Holy Land 🙂

    Thanks for sharing today Sarah. Glad I was a part of the #ChasingCommunity Linkup today.
    ~Sherry Stahl

    • Sarah

      Sherry, thanks for your honesty too. I like your suggestion of saying something positive even when you are struggling with jealousy. Feelings follow actions, and that’s a great way to combat temptation. I don’t see it as being dishonest either. I see it as saying, “I want to be a loving, kind person, and even when I don’t feel loving and kind inside, I’m going to act that way, because then I will BECOME that way.” Great comment Sherry!

  • It does seem to me that the antidote for jealousy is thanksgiving, but I have to take myself by the scruff of the neck sometimes and choose right thinking over lies. I’ve noticed that when I play the comparison game, I hardly ever compare down and ask myself why I have a warm heated house with running water when so many of my sisters in other countries do not.
    Thanks for this post and it’s absolute transparency.

    • Sarah

      Thanks Michele. Indeed, comparing myself to someone less fortunate does help. I heard Gary Thomas speak once about how some moms feel awkward about driving minivans, but in many countries around the world, a minivan would be an enormous blessing, like winning a million dollars here. Perspective definitely matters.

  • Yes. Jealousy is such a common thing and it’s usually so hidden- even from ourselves. I love how you pointed to the heart of this sin issue. Lately I’ve been finding a ton of talk about comparison among believers, especially about addressing comparison and why it’s silly, but I know in my heart, comparison is almost always rooted in the sin of jealousy. If I’m going to deal with comparison issues, I need to deal with the heart issue of jealousy. Proverbs 3:5-6 is probably my favorite of the fantastic verses you shared because my jealousy sin tends to spring up from frustration based on my understanding, not God’s! Thanks for hosting this giveaway and sharing such truth!

    • Sarah

      Thanks Bethany. I’m glad you entered to win. Comparison among believers seems so petty, but it happens every day in the Christian high school where I work. I think if the church can conquer this issue, we can shine even brighter in the world.

  • Thankfulness and trust are the big ones for me. I have to be active and aware of where my thoughts wander and be proactive in keeping my thoughts obedient to Christ. Thank you for the reminders and the encouragement!

    • Sarah

      I’m glad you shared your hidden sins, Nicole. Trust is a big one for me too. Thanks for entering as well!

  • Sarah, what a brave post to write. Satan sure loves the trap of comparison, doesn’t he? Such a bully, he is. Thank you for sharing this beautifully vulnerable post. And, thank you for linking up with #ChasingCommunity today! So great to connect with you. ((hug))

    • Sarah

      Thanks Brenda! So glad to see your linkup taking off well in only its second week!

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  • we’ve all got it and we all have the opportunitiy to live in grace and contentment because of those scriptures you listed and more – and Christ’s example – he could’ve looked at his Father and wished He didn’t have to do what He was fashioned for – but He just obeyed. Maybe I should look at my jealousey and envy as not only sin but disobedience to all God has for me to do (not my girlfriend!) great post!

    • Sarah

      Thanks Sue! I’m glad you stopped by!
      Yes, obedience plays into conquering jealousy too.

  • Meghan Weyerbacher

    This post covers so much ground. Good stuff!! I too have that struggle pop up here and there. I don’t want to hide from people as a solution to this sin, because it does NOT work, however this is the approach I have taken for some time. God’s Grace is absolutely astounding and it makes me want to grow, get out in the open, be free!!!

    • Sarah

      Hi Meghan, I am listening to a teaching on Compel while I write you back. Friended you here today. So glad to get to know you through blogging, and thanks for sharing your similar struggle with the sin, and also about God’s grace!

  • I like the Matthew verses, Sarah. The past year I’ve been so comforted remembering that the God who sees even one sparrow when it falls will care for me. Yes, I sometimes struggle with jealousy too. For me it deals more with people and relationships that things or success. 🙂 But I’m learning to let go and rest in God and remember that my Best Friend completes me.

    • Sarah

      Thank you Betsy. I know you live in one of the world’s danger zones, and it’s encouraging to know faith in Christ is upholding you!

  • I think if we are all honest we would admit to struggling with this sin, Sarah. It can easily become an obstacle that gets in the way of relationships, which I have learned the hard way. I have a sweet friend, she is super successful, beautiful, and oh so talented. But she works really really hard. She gives a lot to a lot of people. But mostly, she is real and she tells us she has a lot of help, and she knows how to ask for it. That is something I am not good at, so I guess jealousy and pride are 2 that trip me up, and maybe they aren’t so hidden either. Or as much as I like to think they are. I am learning to appreciate those gifts in the women I admire and learn from their seasons of blessing and difficulty because they have them, too. And when I see that, I can make that connection, be that friend and prayer warrior and root for them and pray with them through it all. That really makes the whole envy issue diminish, for me.
    Thanks for sharing this and for your reminder to be grateful in all things.
    Thanks for sharing this at the #GraceMoments Link Up!

    • Sarah

      Hi Dawn, thanks for such a thoughtful comment. I agree, praying for someone who stirs up jealousy in you is the best way to see them with compassion and new understanding. Blessed to link up with you last week and this week!

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