If you have bitter jealousy... - this is not the wisdom that comes from above.
The kind of jealousy that James is writing about in the words at the top of this page is truly a very ugly thing. Indeed James goes on to describe it as earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. What then is this kind of jealousy and how does it show itself?
Imagine you see your friend with a brand new watch. It not only looks good but it is the very kind of watch you've always wanted but couldn't afford. And now, instead of being pleased for your friend having such a lovely watch you grudge your friend's happiness, you envy your friend for having that watch you always wanted — you become jealous of your friend. Jealousy destroys friendships.
Indeed, the Bible blames jealousy for causing all sorts of ugly problems in congregations. It was jealousy that caused the Jewish leaders to put Peter and John in prison; and jealousy caused others to reject the message of the Gospel altogether. But sadly we read in the Bible that jealousy always keeps bad company and along with other nasty behaviour it always destroys the peace and love of Christian people and congregations and destroys real fellowship between those who are brothers and sisters in Christ. We have to pray seriously that God will help us to put away a jealous spirit from our hearts.
Dear Lord, help me to be a person of Christian wisdom with a heart that is pure, peaceable and sincere. Amen.