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Posted: 03/12/2012 at 1:21pm
Beware Jealousy's "Evil-Eye"
“Love is strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave.” Song of Solomon 8:6.
In 1964 I was in Jerusalem and stayed in the old American Colony Hotel which originally had been the private family estate of Bertha Spafford Vester. Bertha still lived on the grounds in a personal section where I saw her only once. It was her father who wrote the famous Christian hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul” after his two oldest daughters were lost at sea. When I was there, Bertha was a white-haired grand-motherly figure whose life in the Middle East had left a permanent mark of greatness. National Geographic Magazine did a full-length feature story of her service to Jerusalem’s under-privileged. For years she maintained an orphanage and school for homeless children. During the First World War she converted her home into a hospital and once removed a soldier’s eye on her dining room table. Mrs. Vester is the only woman to whom the Kingdom of Jordan awarded its highest Medal of Honor. To them, she was “Sit Afifi,” the “Mother of us all.” At that time, the Old City where Bertha lived was still under Muslim control.
What I remember most about “Sit Afifi” was a story she told of her trying to deliver superstitious Muslims from belief in the dreaded “Evil-Eye.” This superstition claimed that if you did anything to draw attention to yourself, you incurred the jealousy of others. When jealousy reached a significant level, the evil-eye released disaster upon you and those you love. Those who travel in the Middle East today see the emblem of the “evil eye” attached to the dashboard of every Islamic automobile or bus. It is in homes, businesses, or hanging from key-chains. The insignia is not only a warning about the deadly nature of jealousy but actually re-enforces the power of its curse. With that fear deeply interwoven into their religious life, the girls in Bertha’s school were fearful to do anything that brought personal attention to themselves.
Bertha faced a problem: A dignitary was coming to their school and she wanted a child--a little girl--to present a gift to the person. It was a simple, hand-embroidered handkerchief that was to be given in a public ceremony. In the beginning, none of the parents were willing. They feared the evil eye. Finally, a couple consented and allowed their daughter to make the presentation. Amid applause, with all eyes upon her, the child gave the handkerchief to the visitor and sat down. Later, that same day, her dress caught fire and she burned to death. In agony, the parents blamed Bertha for making them ignore the power of the evil-eye. More than ever before, they knew it was real. Not only they, but every other person connected to the school had the superstition powerfully re-enforced in them.
I do not fear the superstition of the evil eye. Absolutely not. “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.” At the same time, I know there is power in a Muslim curse and in the demon of jealousy. And I believe it was the release of that devilish power that killed the unsuspecting child. Bertha did not realize she needed to do more for her school than merely deny the evil-eye. The students needed protection from powers of darkness. That child and her parents lived in an area totally saturated in satanic domination. Five times daily, Mosques in Jerusalem immersed the spiritual atmosphere with the words, “There is no god but Allah ...” The curse did exist. It was real. More importantly, it was dangerous. Jealousy is much, much more than a bad attitude. Like witchcraft or other forms of Satanism, jealousy is a spirit. Numbers 5:14.
Americans may know nothing of the “evil eye” but they are just as vulnerable as Muslims to the spirit of jealousy. Let me explain how the curse works in our more sophisticated society. If a wife becomes jealous of her husband’s business, friends, or relatives, and allows that spirit expression through her, she too can saturate the entire area around her with its power. Her home, family, work place, may be engulfed in its darkness. Even her children become its targets. While she never meant for them to be victimized, once released, the spirit has widespread power. For example, it may begin when the mother becomes jealous that the neighbor’s children have more toys, better vacations, more friends, than her own. Once jealousy begins affecting her attitude toward the neighbors, it may persuade her to become more demanding in providing equal favors for her own children. Slowly, this attitude--now motivated by jealousy and not love-- will minimize her love-capacity and maximize her suspicion and paranoia. At this point, she will become possessive, controlling, clinging, selfish, in her children’s behalf. Love no longer reigns. Jealousy rules. Soon, no one in the family can please her. She becomes critical toward everyone. It is no longer the neighbors who are under attack. The spirit of jealousy, like a poison gas, has has been released against her entire household. Ultimately, jealousy even destroys those who cooperate with it. For someone to realize they have a spirit of jealousy and do nothing about it is to willfully harm those they love.
That destruction can be physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, domestic, or manifest in a number of ways. Nor is jealousy’s assault limited to the family yard. It may attack a child at school through teachers or other students who are vulnerable to it--but who remain totally ignorant of its purpose in manipulating them. Jealousy may suddenly affect the husband’s business trip many miles away and ruin his success. Observe when you come under attack from the spirit of jealousy that simultaneously there will be a series of attacks from other sources. You have had days when “everything went wrong.” This is the type of assault of which I speak. These secondary attacks appear to be unrelated. Actually, they are the “follow-up” of the enemy’s well-disciplined invasion.
Tragically, we Christians ignore the New Testament’s warning that we are fighting “Principalities, Powers, Rulers of the darkness of this age, Spiritual Hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12. South Florida had a tragedy in which a young man murdered the girl he devotedly loved. I later realized, he did not love her. Love never kills. Jealousy kills. God is love--Satan is jealousy. Jesus gives “life more abundantly.” Satan came to “kill, steal, and destroy.” John 10:10. It was not long after that, while praying early one morning, the Lord interrupted my thoughts with this explanation: “Jealousy is Satan’s imitation of love.” The thought was arresting and for a long while I sat with the concept going through my mind. It came again clearly: “Jealousy is Satan’s imitation of love.” As I meditated on the message, I realized that outwardly, love and jealousy share many similarities. So many, in fact, that people sometimes confuse the two. They do not realize that the devil is silently substituting his deadly imitation for true love; this subtle change is extremely dangerous.
Several years ago I was in a meeting that ended with the congregation experiencing a wonderful, spontaneous baptism of love. People across the building hugged each other, rejoicing in the joy of the Lord, and weeping tears of happiness. It was a scene where “Heaven came down our souls to greet and glory crowned the Mercy Seat.” I was probably embraced a hundred times by both men and women--few of whom I knew. Later, when I went to my car alone a man approached me in the dark and in a very threatening voice said, “I don’t like the way you hugged my wife!!” I was frightened by his fury and quickly apologized, saying, “ ... I don’t know which one is your wife.” “She’s the one over there in that truck!,” he snapped back, indicating he had put her there as punishment. I attempted to explain that the hug had been fatherly. But he didn’t understand what I meant and continued his tirade. To him, all hugs were erotic. He knew of no other kind. After a while he stalked away. What I saw was not a man’s love for his wife but his jealousy.
While I felt remorse for him, and pity for his wife, I felt an especially deep concern for his children. A man whose only expression of love is an erotic one cannot show affection to his sons and daughters. His children will grow up without ever feeling their father’s embrace. That is the way jealousy replaces true love with its own confusing counterfeit. In the past half-century of ministry I have had numbers of victims weep out their stories to me. Middle aged men sat in my office, weeping, and explaining, “In my entire life my father never hugged me.” How sad! Obviously, we need careful discretion in embracing others. This is especially true of pastors. God designed us to be hugged. Hugs release endorphins in the brain which promote a sense of happiness and well-being. That in turn, produces better mental and physical health. Children, particularly, need to be hugged.
What should you do if you recognize jealousy is working through you? First of all, realize that in its intense form, jealousy is a spirit. Specifically, it is a demon-spirit. The only successful resistance is to have someone minister deliverance to you and cast it out. That must be done in the Name of Jesus. Until jealousy has been destroyed by the power of the Holy Spirit it will continue to inflict its devilish program against you and those you love. In the end you will discover, it is “cruel as the grave.”
I speak from painful experience. In the course of my 60+ years of ministry I have seen pastors and churches be destroyed by jealousy. The greatest pain I personally endured and the greatest damage done to my ministry came as a result of jealousy brought against me. Jealousy never makes sense. People I tried to love and whose fellowship I sincerely wanted distrusted my motive and fought me with damaging, jealous, falsehoods. You may ask, Christians did that? Unfortunately, my answer is yes. None of us have yet been through the resurrection; only when “this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality ... shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’" I Corinthians 15:53. Our ultimate deliverance from jealousy comes at the resurrection.
Scripture does not leave us uninformed about true love--or jealousy’s counterfeit competition. Paul carefully detailed the characteristics of true love in I Corinthians 13. Parallel to these, I have listed another writer’s observations about jealousy. Compare the two:
Love suffers long. & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Jealousy is self-protecting and inconsiderate.
Love is kind. & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; J ealousy is merciless and cruel.
Love does not envy. & nbsp; & nbsp; Jealousy is resentful and indignant.
Love does not parade itself.   ; Jealousy is demonstrative and unrestrained.
Love is not puffed up. &nb sp; &nb sp; Jealousy is pompous and arrogant.
Love does not behave rudely.   ; Jealousy is inconsiderate and clamorous.
Love does not seek its own. &n bsp; Jealousy is egotistical & demanding.
Love is not provoked. &nb sp; &nb sp; Jealousy is irritated and angered.
Love thinks no evil. & nbsp; & nbsp; Jealousy plots sinister and corrupt ideas.
Love does not rejoice in iniquity. Jealousy delights in others’ failures.
Love rejoices in the truth. Jealousy hides in deception and falsehood.
Love bears all things.   ;   ; Jealousy permits no self-sacrifice or loss.
Love believes all things.   ;   ; Jealousy is critical and suspicious.
Love hopes all things.   ;   ; Jealousy trusts nothing, has confidence in none.
Love endures all things.   ;   ; Jealousy is impatient and intolerant.
Love never fails. Jealousy never succeeds: It always self-destructs.
Perhaps you are not the source of jealousy but the one whom it has attacked. What can you do to protect yourself? First of all, Jesus said, “Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you.” Don’t fight on their level. If you do, you too will become as jealous as they are. You must rise above their earthly plateau and battle in the spiritual-realm. Recognize that the person is not your problem. The demon is the problem. Paul said, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” Instead, we wrestle against “Powers, Principalities, Rulers of darkness, Spiritual hosts in high place.” To win, you must put on the “whole armor of God.” That includes girding yourself with “truth,” wearing the “breast plate of righteousness,” protecting your feet with the “gospel of peace,” off-setting the attack by the “shield of faith,” protecting your mind by the “helmet of salvation,” and finally use the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Finally, you must pray with “all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:13-18. Jesus said, “I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy.” Luke 10:19. The Apostle John declared, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” I John 4:4. Finally, wage all-out spiritual war. Take authority in Jesus’ Name. Bind, rebuke, banish, the enemy by the power of the Cross. Win!
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking jealousy can be ignored. It cannot. Parents of a little girl in Jerusalem learned the hard way. You do not need to be afraid of such a spirit. But you absolutely must realize that it is real--and it is dangerous. You must drive it from your life!