Envy is defined as ‘a feeling of discontent and ill will because of another person’s advantages or possessions; a resentful dislike of another who has something that one desires.’
Let’s face it – we’ve all felt envy at one time or another. Joseph’s brothers were so envious of God’s preference and Joseph’s specially made cloak, they sold him to slavers- not exactly the warm-fuzzy family feelings we should have for siblings.
We envy neighbors for their new car, new baby on the way, or that others have more money/influence/things than we do. Envy is definitely not hard to muster if we keep our eyes on everyone else’s prize.
God listed seven deadly sins – and Envy is a biggie on that list.
‘Thou shall not covet’ is in the Ten Commandments, so you know God means business when it comes to not wanting other peoples’ stuff. But what do you do to fight being envious of others?
You love others. Be kind to others. It also helps to get perspective and really look at those we envy. Why are you envying them?
Are you envying their things? Things get old and break. Things are temporary. Fight this urge by looking at all of the good things you have- and can share with others.
Are you envying their money? Money doesn’t mean happiness and spends way too fast to be completely enjoyed. The best way to fight this is to come up with a budget that allows you to splurge once in a while.
You can also budget to get gifts for family and friends, or to save for something special for you and your loved ones. God doesn’t want us to hoard money for its own sake – it’s not like we can take it with us when He calls us home!
Are you envying relationships? Look into your heart to see why you feel that way. God isn’t done molding us yet and that soul mate or bestie might just be around the corner – He’s just waiting for you to get through the road blocks.
A great way to start fighting this is to strike up a conversation with the one you envy, asking about them instead of talking about yourself. Eventually you’ll see why they are a relationship magnet, and you’ll either learn from them or realize you’re not the same type he/she is.
And that’s okay!
Believe me, this is one issue I’m an expert on – It took me a long time to stop envying my husband for his vast amounts of friends. He’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert. There was no way I was ever going to be the magnet he is. The circle of friends I have is a small, but a good one. Once I realized this, it was a whole lot easier to stop envying him and cherish the friends I have!
Are you envying the attention they get? This is another heart issue that you need to talk about with God. You might not be ready for all that attention and need a little more tempering or training. Ask me how I know.
Being in the limelight might seem glorious, but when you’re up there, seeing an ocean of faces looking back at you, it can be an entirely different story!
Fight this by earning that attention – whether you want to be a speaker, a writer, or a good storyteller in social situations – by learning the skills needed for the attention that you want.
The person you’re envying might be years ahead of you and look like they’re a natural, but trust me; it’s a very rare talent that is considered ‘natural’!
The one you envy probably worked very hard to get to that point, and all you’re seeing now is the polished version of their efforts.
Envy can destroy what God wants for you, because you’re too busy trying to be in someone else’s shoes. If you’ve ever gone to the thrift store and tried on shoes, you know what I’m talking about – the fit isn’t always good because that shoe molded to someone else’s foot.
God wants you to put on the new shoes He made for you, not someone’s cast-offs. The shoes He made for you are perfectly suited just to you, and there you are, trying on thrift store shoes!
Don’t envy your neighbor. They might have that new car, but the rest of their life could be a mess. Instead of envying them, get to know them, and introduce them to God. That, my dear readers, is the best way to fight off envy!
Beth Brubaker, Assistant Editor is a humorist poet and songwriter, and her day jobs include homemaking, writing, and paper and fabric arts. Beth’s passion is the written word, and is developing ways of sharing her brand of humor with the world through poems, songs and stories. Don’t miss Beth’s columns and puzzles in every issue of RUBY magazine! You can read Beth’s posts on her blog Footprints in the Mud at http://footprintsinthemudblog.blogspot.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.