"Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him. They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him.” – Genesis 37:3-4, 18
Jealousy occurs when a person fears losing a close, self-defining relationship to another, who is often a rival. In the Bible, the older siblings are often jealous of their younger siblings. They resent a younger sibling who seemed more loved by the father. It is true that human parents can show favoritism. Yet, we often project this sentiment into God. We think that there are only a few who are God’s Beloved, and those few do not include us.
What is behind this seductive thinking? It limits God’s love and heart. It yields to the deep fear that we are not holy enough, good enough, deserving enough. Belovedness has nothing to do with our worthiness, sinfulness, frailties, or conduct. It is rooted in God who is extravagant lover, who loves without condition, limit, or end. When we face our jealousy, we unmask our fear and uncover our Belovedness. We become aware that we are precious in God’s eyes, uniquely favored unlike any other person.
Jealousy betrays belief in a God who is too small. Behind jealousy lies our deep longing to become who we already are yet afraid to embrace – God’s Beloved.
"How do you, Lord, look at me? What do you feel in your heart for me?” - John Eagan SJ