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20 August 2007

In my reading of late I’ve discovered several articles on the theme of envy. In his article “Sinful” for National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg says,

We almost never discuss envy anymore. “One may admit to pride, avarice, lust, anger, gluttony, and laziness, and one may even boast of them,” Gonzalo Fernandez de la Mora wrote 20 years ago in Egalitarian Envy. “There is only one capital sin no one admits to: envy. … Its symbol ought to be a mask.” This is a shame; the most pathetic of the seven deadly sins is perhaps the most consequential.

He looks at envy from a political prespective.

More damning, however, is that these studies turn a vice into a virtue. With the exception of the self-esteem movement, which glorifies pride, it’s difficult to imagine another area where we so shamelessly tout a sin as the basis of public policy.

In Sunday’s edition of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel, the cover story was “Green with Envy? Get Over It.” Author David B. Crabtree offers four steps to getting past wasting our time on envying the possessions or accomplishments of others.

Pat Barrett in “Rotten Bones and Other Side Effect of Envy,” gets to the heart of how envy grows within us and causes us physical, psychological, and spiritual problems. Several other sidebar pieces give examples of envy. I think that most Christians recognize when they are being envious, at least initially. It’s not an emotion that feels “good” or “right.” It’s a sin that all are susceptible to because people don’t just envy wealth, they envy other’s good looks or personal relationships. I think that the inundation of advertising in our lives often fuels an envious spirit. Television shows where the average family lives in a nice well-furnished home has caused me to envy the nameless “they” who are doing better than I. Envy of unsaved neighbors who drive a better car and go on annual vacations morphs into self-righteous back patting thoughts about how we could have those things, but we (cue organ music) tithe to the Lord.

If you struggle with envy, I suggest you read the TPE articles. They have some sound advice as well as scripture that will help you overcome envy in your life.

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