Mark Twain said, “Few things are harder to put up with then the annoyance of a good example.” When we see good things happen to other people, we can be annoyed, inspired, or envious.
St. Thomas Aquinas described envy as “sorrow at another’s good.” You have sorrow over someone else’s good and would rather bring them down. In Dorothy Sayers words, “envy hates to see other men happy.”
Envy is a destroyer. Of all seven sins, envy is the only one with no pleasure. It is truly miserable.
Why Is Envy Deadly?
Envy is the preeminent joy killer. It kills joy because:
- Envy makes us ungrateful. Peter Kreeft encourages us to be grateful. His view is that “gratitude is the seedbed of joy.” Chesterton said the “test of all happiness is gratitude.”
- Envy leads to resentfulness. People who are envious think God’s blessings are limited and they don’t want anyone taking their share. Romans 12:15 encourages us to be sensitive. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
- Envy leads to hatred. Resentment’s favorite expression is “I’m just as good as you.” Hatred’s favorite expression is “damn you.” Envy wants to pull down and destroy.
Answer to Envy: Mourning
The antidote for envy is mourning. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matt 5:4)
We live in a sin-saturated world and must live with the consequences of that sin and with the judgment of God.
Jesus reminds us in John 16:33, “…you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” His desire for us is to be at peace. (John 14:27)
Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn…” If you interpret the word blessed as happy, the verse may seem confusing: “Happy are those who are unhappy.” While the statement might seem like a trick or some sort of “verbal gymnastics,” it really is not.
Being happy is based on chance or luck. Blessed is not what’s going on from the outside, but what’s happening on the inside. It means “good spirit or good soul.”
God blesses those who mourn. His blessing is available to all mourners but is not received by all mourners. The blessing is for:
4.Those who suffer personally.
5.Those who suffer for others. (Rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. Suffering for love.)
6.Those who suffer for Christ. (Denying self and taking up the cross of Jesus to follow Him. Matthew 16:24)
How does mourning bless us?
- Suffering sculpts our souls by molding us into the image of Christ.
- Suffering strengthens our love. We are only willing to suffer for the things we love.
- Suffering deepens our wisdom. You learn more things in the school room of suffering then you do on the playground of prosperity.
The practical application for people who are envious is friendship. Be a friend because “friendship multiplies joy and divides griefs.” (Proverbs 18:24, there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.)
Friendship is soulship. There is no envy in friendship. Ciscero said, “He who looks into the face of a friend beholds a copy of himself.”
Friends rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Rather than harbor envy, be a friend and strive to be more Christ-like.