Do you remember a while back we were talking about Sarah? She was jealous of Hagar because Hagar could have children and she couldn't. Most of us know what it feels like to be jealous--but what about when you're the one who has what someone else wants? That's kind of the flip side of jealousy. And that's the position Hagar was in.
Hagar's story is intertwined with Sarah's. You already read how God promised that Abraham and Sarah would start a great nation, but years passed, and they still had no children. Sarah came up with her own plan. She told Abraham to have a child with her maid, Hagar. So Abraham did what Sarah asked, and Hagar became pregnant.
Sarah had wanted to have a child for years, but it was Hagar who was pregnant. Since Hagar was pregnant with what was assumed to be the promised child, she began to act like she was more important than Sarah. That was too much for Sarah.
Sarah was strong in faith, but she was human. She had the same emotions you have when you see someone else getting what you want, especially if they flaunt it in your face. Sarah was jealous, she was angry, and she took it out on Hagar. She even blamed Abraham for the predicament, even though it was her own idea for Hagar to have a son for Abraham.
Hagar teased Sarah. Sarah became jealous and angry. No one was winning. Abraham told Sarah to handle it however she wanted, and Sarah mistreated Hagar. That is all the Bible tells us about what happened between Sarah and Hagar, but whatever happened was bad enough that Hagar fled to the desert to escape Sarah.
Jealousy and teasing rarely lead to good relationships as the problems between Hagar and Sarah show.
Sarah desperately wanted to have a baby. Hagar became pregnant with the child Sarah wanted. Hagar flaunted her pregnancy, and Sarah reacted with anger and jealousy.
You may have been in that situation. Not with a baby but with other things. You want to be best friends with someone, but another girl comes along and becomes the best friend. You want a particular pair of shoes. Your mom says they are too expensive. You see another girl wearing a brand new pair of those shoes the next day at school.
Can you think of a time when someone got what you wanted? How did you feel?
Has there been a time when you had something (a possession, a talent, an award) someone else wanted? How did that make you feel?
No matter whether you are the one who wants what another has or are the one who has what someone else wants, it's important to act graciously and kindly. Jealousy and pride both lead to hurt. Give it a try this week!
If you haven't signed up for the fall challenge yet, go back a post and do that.