Category Archives: Emotions

Definition of Worry

There is one Greek word in the New Testament that is translated as “worry.” That word is merimnao, which means “to be anxious, to be distracted” or “to have a divided mind” (merizo, (merizo, to “divide”–nous, “the mind”). John Edmund Haggai, How to Win Over Worry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959), 19.

-To worry is to divide your mind between that which is useful and worthwhile and that which is damaging and destructive. [Ibid.]

-To worry is to block the flow of creative energy in your life.

 

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27)

 

The concept of worrying is conveyed through Scripture by numerous words and phrases.

–to be fretful

–to be anxious

–to be concerned

–to be weighed down with cares

–to be heavy-hearted

–to be without peace

–to be distracted

–to be troubled

–to be distressed

–to be despairing

 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)

 

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Introduction to Worry

Worry is a destructive habit. It is so common that it is seen as natural as breathing. It is such a skilled and deceptive intruder that its victims don’t know they have been robbed of peace, of time, of mental energy and of emotional well-being.

 

“Worry is like a thick braided headband that puts pressure on the mind–a confining cord interwoven with three strands–the distresses of yesterday, the trials of today and the fearful “what if’s” of tomorrow. This vice-like grip of worry tragically compresses your joy, cramps your peace and confines your freedom. But this constriction can be conquered!”

 

June Hunt

 

Note: These lessons are taken from June Hunt’s work entitled “Biblical Counseling Keys,” which is a part of WordSearch’s database on the subject of counseling. It should be noted that these lessons are a condensed study of this subject.

Causes of Envy and Jealousy

We will first look at surface causes of these twins.

 

Envy:

–desire for selfish gain

–comparison

–emphasis on personal rights

–unrealistic expectations

Jealousy:

–lack of trust

–low self-image

–guilt

Situational Setups

Envy

-affluence (money)

-achievement (honors, awards)

-appearance (looks, clothes, etc.)

-abilities (talents)

-advancement (promotions)

-activities (trips, social invitations)

Jealousy

-sibling rivalry

-friendships

-marriage relationships

-adult parent/child relationships

-competitive work environment

-legalistic church environment

“I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor.” Ecclesiastes 4:4

 

The Characteristics of Envy and Jealousy

  • Envy–burning desire to have–coveting what another has: empty hands that crave to be filled; usually involves two people.
  • Jealousy–burning desire to keep; possessive of what one has; full hands that fear being emptied; usually involves three people

 

What we need to discuss now is what the “surface symptoms” are. This portion of the study will help in identifying any personal characteristics we may possess.

 

Envious

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)

Encourages envy in others: boastful

Needs to put down others: critical

Vengeful feelings toward others: resentful

Internal pain over the success of others: begrudging

Overachiever: competitive

Unfulfilled desires or cravings: greedy

Self-exalting: demanding

Jealous

“Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4)

Judgmental of others: performance-based acceptance

Exclusive expectations: not allowing outside relationships

Anxiety/anger over potential loss: threat of losing relationship

Leaning on the identity of others: emotionally dependent

Overly possessive of others: controlling spirit

Unable to trust God: insecure

Suspicious of the normal behavior of others: distrustful

 

Disguises for Masking the Traits

  • Making an issue of the unfairness of life.

Pretending apathy or indifference to people or situations

Feeling self-pity

Avoiding problems or people that could produce envy or provoke jealousy

Idolizing certain people by placing them on an unreachable pedestal

Offering false praise and congratulations

Dropping unnecessary, negative information about another

Projecting jealousy or envy onto another

Developing a superior attitude toward another

Becoming a martyr

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16

 

Envy and Jealousy Characteristics

  • Envy–burning desire to have–coveting what another has: empty hands that crave to be filled; usually involves two people.
  • Jealousy–burning desire to keep; possessive of what one has; full hands that fear being emptied; usually involves three people

 

What we need to discuss now is what the “surface symptoms” are. This portion of the study will help in identifying any personal traits we may possess.

 

Envious

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)

Encourages envy in others: boastful

Needs to put down others: critical

Vengeful feelings toward others: resentful

Internal pain over the success of others: begrudging

Overachiever: competitive

Unfulfilled desires or cravings: greedy

Self-exalting: demanding

Jealous

“Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4)

Judgmental of others: performance-based acceptance

Exclusive expectations: not allowing outside relationships

Anxiety/anger over potential loss: threat of losing relationship

Leaning on the identity of others: emotionally dependent

Overly possessive of others: controlling spirit

Unable to trust God: insecure

Suspicious of the normal behavior of others: distrustful

 

The Definition of Envy

What is Envy?

Envy is resenting the advantage of another, with a desire to possess the same advantage.

Envy is coveting what another has.

The Latin word for “envy” is invidere, which means, “to look at with enmity.” American Heritage Electronic Dictionary

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17)

Question: Is envy always wrong?

Yes. Scripture never portrays envy in a positive light. God is never depicted as an envious God.

“Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time, they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, ‘Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’ For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him” (Matthew 27:15-18)