The Ten Commandments: The Tenth

Is envy a peccadillo, or is it something more serious?

Dorothy Sayer, a believer in Christ, wrote:  “Envy is the great leveler:  If it cannot level things up, it will level them down…At its best, envy is a climber and a snob’ at its worst it is a destroyer-rather than have anyone happier than itself, it will see us all miserable together.”  The Scriptures are replete with accounts of the destructive, even deadly impact of those who actions were based on envy.

 

In Anthony and Cleopatra (3:2) Shakespeare described it as the “green sickeness”.  In Othello, he called it the “green eyed monster”.

Immanuel Kant described it thus:  “inherent in the nature of man, and only its manifestation makes of it an abominable vice, a passion not only distressing and tormenting to the subject, but intent on the destruction of the happiness of others and one that is opposed to man’s duty towards himself as towards other people.”

It is listed as the fourth of the “Seven Deadly Sins”…

Perhaps, if you look honestly and deeply into your own heart, you will discover that you too are in fact “green” with it.  What is it that you will find?

Envy!!!

Is envy a peccadillo, or is it something more serious?

Dorothy Sayer, a believer in Christ, wrote:  “Envy is the great leveler:  If it cannot level things up, it will level them down…At its best, envy is a climber and a snob’ at its worst it is a destroyer-rather than have anyone happier than itself, it will see us all miserable together.”  The Scriptures are replete with accounts of the destructive, even deadly impact of those who actions were based on envy.  Just consider these familiar stories:

Joseph was envied by his brothers.  You know what that cost Joseph…

In Thessalonica the Jews were “jealous” of Paul and Silas.  They formed a mob, set the city into an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason.[i]

Pilate knew that the Jews had delivered Jesus to him out of envy.[ii]

It is arguable that the fall itself involved envy…  The serpent said:  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”[iii]  Can you hear the thinking?  “Eve!  God is holding out on you!  He has something you don’t:  the ability and the authority to determine (to know) what is good and evil.  You want that don’t you?  You deserve that don’t you?”

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