Dec 8, 2009

The Sin of Envy

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. Proverbs 14:30

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. Job 5:2

For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. Genesis 26:14

Envy has been with us ever since Cain slew his brother Abel. Envy is the sin of the have-nots against the haves. That doesn't mean we have to be poor to be envious because the rich rarely know who they are. On the other hand, the poor know who the rich people are: they are the folks who have fifty percent more than we have. Poverty is a state of mind induced by our neighbour's new car. Envious people count other people's blessings instead of their own.

Envy is the only deadly sin that is also listed in the Ten Commandments:
Thou shall not covet thy neighbour's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to thy neighbour Exodus 20:17

Jealousy or envy causes one to become spiteful inside, and secretly wish ill-will towards another. That ill-will or spite is usually released through sarcasms, gossip, or remarks filled with spite in order to hurt the other person in an attempt to put them in their so-called place. Self-centered people manifesting envy usually try to glorify themselves because of their lack, and they do this through spite, anger, self-righteousness, gossip, etc.

Envy is the dislike felt toward another because they have a position, possession or quality one desires. You just want it, but you want it without wanting to pay the cost for it. It's a free-ride type of desire.

Dante defined Envy as "love of one's own good perverted to a desire to deprive other men of theirs." In Dante's Purgatory, the punishment for the envious is to have their eyes sewn shut with wire because they have gained sinful pleasure from seeing others brought low.

Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said of Envy: "Envy according to the aspect of its object is contrary to charity, whence the soul derives its spiritual life... Charity rejoices in our neighbour's good, while envy grieves over it."

Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be put in freezing water.

If you wish to avoid this fate, you must practice:

The Virtue of Contentment

To do this, you must become moderate in your wishes. Contentment can come either from having more or wanting less. The contentment provided by the latter is seven times more durable than the former. We must learn to be satisfied with our lot even when we don't have a lot. In other words, always be content with what you have.

Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs! For if I grow rich, I may become content without God. And if I am too poor, I may steal Proverbs 30:8-9.


Jamie D. said...

Thankfully, I'm generally a very content person. Which is good, because I hate freezing-cold water. ;-)

This is such a good motivation for antagonists though - envy is such a common emotion that it gives instant credibility to just about any bad act. Sad in real life, wonderful for fiction...

C R Ward said...

LOL I won't even go swimming if the pool temperature is much less than 80. :-)

I never thought beyond doing this series, they'd come in handy for developing characters . . . I'll have to put direct links to them in one of the side bars when I'm done.

Pretty Things said...

I love this one...For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. Job 5:2

There's something about the use of the word "silly" with "envy" that helps me keep things in perspective.

erica m. chapman said...

Oooo Envy that's a good one. Jamie's right though- it would be a good motivation for the antagonist! Nice observation :o)

It's hard not to envy people. I'll be the first to admit I do it sometimes. However, I do like who've I've become. So I guess in a way I'm content. Besides, if I had everything I wanted, there wouldn't be anything to want for, how boring!

Great post :o)