You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars. Gary Allan
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. (Proverbs 14:30)
According to dictionary.com, jealousy is a resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself. It is a mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims.
Envy: it is a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.
The Greek word for envy (ζηλόω prounounced dzay-lah-oh) is used many times in the New Testament. It is translated variously as envy, jealousy, earnest desire, covetous, and etc. Obviously there is nothing wrong with earnestly desiring something – like an education, a better job, an awesome partner, or even a well-made pizza. In and of itself, it is not the desire that is the problem. It is when the desire is so strong that we either 1) abandon our own moral principles to get something, or 2) we want it so badly that we don’t care who we hurt to get it – including ourselves. My old mentor used to say, so as to avoid this sin, “I wish I had that guy’s new truck – and that he had a better one!” I suppose that removes the “envy” part of a strong desire because no one would be harmed if the wish came true.
The root negative attitude in envy is being discontented with what we have already. There is a deep kind of unhappiness that we deserve more or better – or that we would be happier if we had the more or better.
A person with generalized envy is never happy. Ever. John D. Rockefeller, an Ohio native, started Standard Oil. Rockefeller was at one point the world’s richest man and first ever American billionaire. Considering he was a billionaire in the early 1900’s he is still considered as the richest person in modern history. When a reporter asked him, “How much money is enough?” He responded, “Just a little bit more.” If that answer was genuine, then poor John could never have been happy.
The counter to envy is to develop an attitude of gratitude. Be constantly and consistently thankful for what we do have. James 1:17 says that every good and perfect gift is from above, but what about what we have earned? Even that we can be thankful for because we cannot take credit for our intellect, our basic personality, people around us who supported and encouraged us, or our time and location of birth and rearing. Our earning capability is rooted in all those things… so it is also a gift.
Jealousy is ugly. Envy is destructive. Covetousness is a black hole of pain. Choose to recognize the gifts we have been given and walk in the truth of how much we really owe everything to others.
That is beautiful.
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For His glory,