Beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock,
The meat it feeds on.
- William Shakespeare, Othello -
Green is definitely not my favorite color, but there are a few certain exceptions... a Boston Celtics jersey, the dyed Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day in the Windy City, the invitingly lush hue of a golf course's precisely manicured Zoysia grass, the new-life tints of spring.
To me, these vibrant and deep greens are beautifully appealing to the eye, but there exists a shade that is downright ugly... jealousy.
"The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves."- One man describes jealousy as "a mental cancer."- Solomon says it "corrodes the bones."- It "injures us with the dagger of self-doubt" says another.-
Sadly, "it is in the character of very few men to honor without [jealousy] a friend who has prospered."- It often "shapes faults that are not" truly present in others... at least not to the extent that our evil eyes might see.- It is a powerful force that can leave one trudging along "under that hovering cloud, jealousy, whose acid raindrops blurred my vision and burned holes in my heart."-
Jealousy... a terribly ugly shade of green... a most destructive passion... a seductive demon... a divisive influencer... an almost-instant result of the first Adam's fall from grace... an undeniable presence that crouches at the door of every heart... an occupant of the flesh that must be subdued and restrained, lest it run roughshod over its host.
I've often heard the expression "green with envy" but I did not know its origin. Apparently, this widely used phrase is attributed to William Shakespeare, the brilliant English poet and playwright.
Before his time, "a green complexion (i.e., pale and sickly) was associated with other things besides envy: these included fear, ill-humor and illness. In a famous passage, Iago warns Othello to 'beware, my Lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock, the meat it feeds on,' a metaphor from the green-eyed cat family which is prone to play with (mock) its victims as a cat plays with a mouse. Though green has continued to have other associations, notably immaturity and gullibility, it is [jealousy] that now predominates."-
Leave it to a devilish character like Iago, in a classic work like Othello, to capture a timeless human reality.
And let me be the first to say that the green-eyed monster named Jealousy crouches at the door of my heart, mocking and toying with my flesh, desiring to divide and destroy.
It is indeed a dreadful shade of green.
 William Penn, Some Fruits of Solitude, 1693
 B.C. Forbes
 Proverbs 14:30, The Message
 William Shakespeare, Othello