Home Pastors Pastor Blogs Envy & Jealousy on Facebook: What New Research Reveals

Envy & Jealousy on Facebook: What New Research Reveals

Several new studies have revealed that Facebook makes countless people feel bad about themselves leading to anger and hate against other people. Why? Because of envy and jealousy.

Shine recently published the findings of the research. And it’s not pretty. Here’s an excerpt:

More than a third of the respondents reported feeling negative, but it had nothing to do with Facebook’s ever-changing privacy policies and advertisements—most of those bad vibes were rooted in jealousy . . . We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook, with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry . . . The fact that we spend so much time on Facebook means that our petty retaliations take place there as well.

Users who felt jealous of their friends’ status updates, photos, and life events often dealt with it by exaggerating their own accomplishments, posting unrealistically pretty profile shots, and sharing over-the-top status updates. That, in turn led other Facebook friends to feel jealous and inadequate—something the researchers dubbed an ‘envy spiral.’ All of that virtual envy creates a real-life problem: Users end up feeling dissatisfied with their own lives. 

Many people who aren’t happy with themselves will read of the successes of other people on social media sites and blogs. Instead of “rejoicing with those who rejoice,” they will instead become envious. This will often lead them to embellish their own accomplishments, successes, and life-achievements, lifting themselves up while tearing others down. Often people they don’t know personally. This kind of envy and jealousy is often the root behind personal attacks, slander, and character assassination which are designed to hurt the reputation of others. The motive of which is jealousy.

Christians are not immune to this problem. And it has been with us since the first century. James wrote,

Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. (James 3:16)

As I put it in another post, “The Dangers of God’s Favor,”

Jealousy over God’s favor in Abel’s life cost him that life. His brother Cain grew insanely jealous and killed him over it. Saul became jealous because of the favor of God in David’s life. That jealousy moved him to try to kill David. Jesus Christ Himself was put to death by those who were envious of His life and ministry. (Matt. 27:18; Mark 15:10)

That jealousy seems to have taken root when Jesus was drawing larger crowds than both John the Baptist and the Pharisees: ”The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John . . . When the Lord learned of this, He left Judea and went back once more to Galilee” (John 4:1, 3).

The servant is not greater than his Master.

If God chooses to put His favor on your life . . . or your ministry . . . be prepared for others to become jealous of you. People who are jealous become obsessed with tearing the objects of their jealousy down, misrepresenting them, distorting their words, and maligning them. And lifting themselves up in the process. It’s a pattern that’s woven into the flesh.

However, your reaction is everything. If you respond in kind, you will lose the Lord’s favor. But if you choose the path of David and Jesus, entrusting it to God and not returning evil for evil, the Lord’s favor will only increase in your life and He will produce more fruit through your ministry. The Lord stands with those who refuse to retaliate, but are willing to leave the matter in His hands.

The words of Peter say it all, I think: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

“Men always hate most what they envy most.” ~ H.L. Mencken

“As a moth gnaws a garment, so doeth envy consume a man.” ~ St. John Chrysostom

“If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang.” ~ Charley Reese

Have you ever had someone try to hurt you because of envy and jealousy?