Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Ugly Shade of Green : Heart Blight

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."-[1] One man describes jealousy as "a mental cancer."-[2] Solomon says it "corrodes the bones."-[3] It "injures us with the dagger of self-doubt" says another.-[4]


Sadly, "it is in the character of very few men to honor without [jealousy] a friend who has prospered."-[5] It often "shapes faults that are not" truly present in others... at least not to the extent that our evil eyes might see.-[6] 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."-[7]



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."-[8]


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.


==========
[1] William Penn, Some Fruits of Solitude, 1693
[2] B.C. Forbes
[3] Proverbs 14:30, The Message
[4] Grimutter
[5] Aeschylus
[6] William Shakespeare, Othello
[7] Unknown
[8] http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/sayingsg.htm

8 comments:

Stacy D said...

This was a GREAT post... the English teacher in my loved the Shakespeare references.

How illuminating that all over scripture and great works of literature we are forewarned of the destructive nature of jealousy. And truth be known, I have found myself battling it greatly these last few months in the wake of our sweet Isaac's death, and in light of seemingly every person I know being pregnant and delivering a healthy baby.

Thank you for this vivid reminder about jealousy's true devisiveness.

~ Stacy

Angie said...

But remember the green light at the end of the pier of west egg, Great Gatsby.It can mean hope and dreams are just a stones throw away. I always look for the beacon of hope in the green light.
Ang

kim said...

Being jealous for something that belongs to us can be a good thing. What color is God's jealousy for us? (God wants us to worship Him alone.) Maybe the lush hue of the golf course(?) The dreadful shade of jealousy can eat us alive! It takes resolve, determination to dwell on these things: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise worthy, think about such things!

kim said...

Being jealous for something that belongs to us can be a good thing. What color is God's jealousy for us? (God wants us to worship Him alone.) Maybe the lush hue of the golf course(?) The dreadful shade of jealousy can eat us alive! It takes resolve, determination to dwell on these things: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise worthy, think about such things!

Maggy said...

I think we all are there and we always need to check ourselves for bugs like this one like with our computers :)

Paige said...

Great post Greg! How true it is that it stands at the door and knocks...and too many times I let it in. Why I am not satisfied in who God made me, I will never understand!! Thank you for the reminder!

Blessings to you-
Georgia Tarheel ;)

Karen said...

I've been following your story for just a few weeks; found it from Angie's blog. And I'm just so sorry...I cry at your loss....my prayers and thoughts are with you and your precious family. Luke. He is in my heart.

Blameless said...

It would be so great to see what Christ sees, and to know what He knows. The glimpses He provides in this life are to sustain us....but true life awaits us when we will be perfected.

When I read about your struggles, I'm reminded of this passage:

2Corinthians 12:9
But He said to me, "My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God bless you.

Sarah