~Joel’s Blog

Envy Comes When More Is Not Enough

During the season of Lent, perhaps we become more reflective than we’d otherwise be. More’s the pity.

In most parts of the world, people live in poverty. Certainly in comparison to 1st-world countries, “poverty” is the world in which vast numbers of humanity live their lives.

Which makes the topic of envy even more unpleasant. We have other words for what it is, like “jealousy.” I heard a story recently that provides the best explanation for what it does.

Once there was a fortunate man who was promised anything he wished…as long his neighbor received double the gift. After much distress, the fortunate man declared his wish: “Make me blind in one eye!”

Dare we scoff? How easily do we celebrate when our friends experience success? How quick are we with congratulations when a relative receives a wonderful promotion? The other guy gets the gold. She’s faster. Their team wins the game. Your favorite co-worker gets a pay raise. Well, you get the point.

Envy Doesn’t Celebrate.

Paul shares in Romans 12:15 (from The Message):

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down.

If we’re noEnvyt laughing with those who laugh and feeling the depths of their pain when they’re down, then we’re doing the opposite. Envy opposes. That’s what Paul seems to be implying.

Go ahead. Try it: …laughing…when they’re down…and…and…feeling down…when they laugh. Ouch.

That last part sounds like envy, doesn’t it? It’s just that the other part sounds so perverse: laughing when someone is down. Kind of like rejoicing that they’re totally blind when you still have one eye.

In other words, envy ultimately hates someone else’s reason for joy. And in that moment, it robs us of our own joy.

The sting of envy is terrible. But the one who receives it from us is not the only one stung.

Engage here. What’s your story? Has envy leached joy from you? Is there anyone you care about that may need to consider what envy is really doing?

Part 2 in the Envy Series is here.

photo credit: Aphrodite via photopin cc

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