Envy: The Green-Eyed Monster

There is so much in the Bible regarding envy it is expedient to consider it.

“It was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him” Mark 15:10.

Thus it is directly attributed to being a sin leading Jesus to the cross. Of all possible sins it is identified as being a primary cause of His crucifixion.

Shakespeare dubbed it, “the green-eyed monster.” Chaucer called it a: “foul sin… the worst of sins” because it is “against all virtues and against every manner of goodness.” 

Envy is one bad sin, so we need to take a closer look at it.

Jealousy and envy are opposite sides of the same coin.

The obverse side, envy, is wanting what someone else has.

The reverse side, jealousy, is wishing they didn’t have it.

Envy is the act of counting the blessings of others rather than your own. It comes from a lack of appreciation for your own blessings.

From Bible time it sometimes manifested itself even in ministry. “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill” Philippians 1: 15.

Love is often corrupted by envy. However, “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” I Corinthians 13:4.

Envy is even indirect criticism of God. It portends you know better than God as to what you need and another has.

Can you rejoice over the accomplishments and possessions of others? Are you given to complimenting the accomplishments of others? It is a shield against envy.

Essayist Gore Vidal once confessed, “Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.” Is his confession characteristic of you to any degree?

Find your contentment in what God has provided. It is good to have ambition and strive for greater accomplishments as a workman that needs not to be ashamed. Do it without envying others accomplishments. We often feel envy in spite of ourselves, even though we don’t want to. It’s the great unsought sin which reveals itself often by curt, cryptic, crass, catty and terse comments. Replace them with praise. If you are prone to envy or even engage in a single act of it, acknowledge it to God and ask His forgiveness. Like any unconfessed sin it estranges us from God. That makes us vulnerable to even more varied sins.

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” I Peter 2: 1.

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another” Galatians 5: 25, 26.