At the same time those who show forth envies, jealousies, etc., toward a servant, are depriving themselves of their own stations, and not another of his, for they prove by their own acts that they are not only unworthy of being called to any station waiting them, but also prove that they cannot withstand the very first test – that of rejoicing over the success of their neighbour, at which God rejoices . . . Envy closes the door of Bounty, and jealousy prevents one from ever attaining to the Kingdom of Abhá. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 6, No. 6, p. 44)
First of all, I wanted to understand the difference between envy and jealousy as they are often paired in the Bahá’í Writings. It seems that we envy people when we want what they have and we’re jealous when we want to keep for ourselves what belongs exclusively to us. Envy involves 2 people – me and the person who has what I want and it is what feeds the “keeping up with the Jones’s”.
If someone is jealous, on the other hand, they feel angry or bitter because they think that another person is trying to take a lover, friend or possession away from them, so it involves 3 people. It’s often what feeds suspicions of infidelity. Both come out of a lack of trust towards yourself (to manage your affairs) or to your partner (to be loyal).
With that in mind, we can understand the quote better. The problem is that when we give in to envy and jealousy, we deprive ourselves of our own station, close the door of bounty and prevent ourselves from ever attaining the Kingdom of Abha. If I don’t appreciate the bounties and blessings that are continually streaming forth for me, why would God give me any more?
Knowing that the solution to envy and jealousy is to rejoice over the success of my neighbors, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Making Friends with Sin and Temptation