While the tenth commandment forbids coveting perhaps it should also have included envy. According to the dictionary coveting focuses on our desire to have something another has while envy is a negative feeling directed toward a person, perhaps the person who has what we covet. Envy and not coveting is listed as one of the seven deadly sins. It is perhaps the queen of sins for it has absolutely no gratification. Greed might make you rich. Gluttony might get you a great meal. Lust might find you temporary satisfaction but envy has no benefit even short lived.
Envy feeds on the destruction of others. Often it causes us to be hypocrites and we pretend to celebrate when something good happens to another but we feel the best when something bad happens to them. It is not enough for us to succeed. We don’t want success for anyone else except perhaps our children. From them we feed and take vicarious satisfaction from their accomplishments.
Lucifer’s great sin was a combination of coveting and envy. “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” The irony of this is God’s goal for each of His children is for us to be like Him. The secret ingredient is love. If Lucifer had loved God he would have continued to grow. How dramatically opposite that Jesus left His throne on high to become one of His creations. He came to us poor. He died for us poor.
Envy is such a wicked thing. It blinds us to the reality that when others succeed we increase. The worst sins are way inside us where we live. The best virtues are way inside us where God wants to live.
Written by Roger Bothwell on June 17, 2014
Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574