Let Us Shed Our Coats of Jealousy


We are all familiar with the story of Joseph and his “coat of many colors”. His father, in a gesture of love and admiration gave him a beautiful coat.

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. (Gen. 37:3-4).

Eventually his brothers, filled with jealousy and perhaps chided by the young Joseph’s brashness, sold him into Egypt as a slave. We all know that over time the story has a happy ending with the reuniting of the brothers but what of this “jealousy” that propelled his brothers into such a dastardly deed. It is an emotion that can cause “good” people, even the most elect, to do “bad” things. It caused the great King Saul to seek the life of David, Pharaoh to fight against Moses and the Pharisees to crucify the Savior. As Jeffrey Holland mentioned in his great sermon on the Prodigal son, it caused the faithful brother of the wayward one to be “haunted by the green-eyed monster of jealousy. He feels taken for granted by his father and disenfranchised by his brother, when neither is the case”(“The Other Prodigal”, Ensign,July 2002).

Jealousy is a very powerful emotion. Yes, left unchecked, jealousy can not only cause the ruin of nations, but it can cause the loss of our very souls. If we examine our own lives I think we will discover that this emotion too often comes to the forefront of our lives. There are endless ways for jealousy to rear its ugly head in our lives. When a friend speaks of how successful their children are becoming,  or talk of a new home they are buying,  or when someone gets a fancy car, earns a degree, receives a calling or shows a talent. Do we feel happy, or is their coat of many colors causing us to be green with envy?

I don’t know all the answers on how to overcome such “jealousy” but I do know that if we pattern our lives after the Savior’s, that this thing we call “jealousy” will not be a part of our life. There is no mention of it vexing the Savior. Humility was His greatest attribute and it is that attribute that will help free us from this insidious attribute. It is not only a carrier of spiritual darkness, it causes great sadness, unhappiness and often sorrow. Let us follow the example of the Savior and be devoid of jealousy towards our brothers and sisters. Let us shed our “coats of jealousy”.

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