The Seven Deadly Sins: Envy

Life Notes—July 25, 2013 

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”  Exodus 20:17

In my younger days I had a hero.  Actually, it was more of a man-crush. He was tall and handsome, cool under pressure.  He had an answer for every situation.  He was the smartest and cleverest person in whatever room he was in.  He was strong enough to fight his way out of physical danger, yet sensitive enough to treat women as they (apparently) wanted to be treated.  His cars were fast and beautiful. Attractive women adored him, captivated by his irresistible charisma.  His name was James…James Bond.  Yes, when I was young I was incredibly envious of James Bond.  He was heroic.  He was iconic.  He was a man’s man.  And I wanted what he had.  Most of the people we admire as heroes are only too human, and sooner or later their human weakness shows through and tarnishes their “shine.”  But James Bond was not human, and so he could be perfect—at least by a young boy’s definition of perfect.  In reality, no one person could be that strong and clever and smart and good-looking and resourceful and smooth.  And we would never have access to the amazing gadgets that “Q” made for him, few of which would actually work in the real world, anyway.

The sixth of the Seven Deadly Sins is Envy.  Envy grows out of jealousy, but takes jealousy to the level of covetousness.  Coveting what belongs to our neighbors is addressed in the Ten Commandments, as in the scripture above.  Although envy grows out of jealousy, its impact goes well beyond normal jealousy and desire.  It is not just a desire to have something, it is a desire to have something that belongs to someone else.  We do not envy things that can be bought in a store.  We envy something in someone else’s possession.  And sometimes envy can take the form of coveting something not so much because we want the object of our envy, but in order to hurt the other person by taking something of value to them.

So envy is sinful because it leads us to covet that which belongs to someone else.  But it is also sinful in that it is a manifestation of our dissatisfaction with the blessings we have been given.  It is not just admiring the green grass on the other side of the fence, but envy leads us to consider digging up the neighbor’s sod and transplanting it in our yard.  That’s not only sinful, it’s also back-breaking work!  Similar to lust and greed, envy takes what may be a normal desire and twists it into something abnormal.  It leads to separation from others and damages relationships, including our relationship with God.

Tom will be preaching downtown where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Mitch is preaching at the west campus where contemporary worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.

Come home to church this Sunday.  It is okay to be envious of another’s relationship with God.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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