You can’t be envious and happy at the same time. Frank Tyger
Envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts. Jean Vanier
Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own. Harold Coffin
Envy is a very unhealthy and undesirable trait. Instead of being happy and thankful for the good things in our life, we are resentful and unhappy because of the good fortune of others. We envy what they have.
We want to steal from them. It is not stealing in the normal sense, but can be considered “mentally stealing”. In our minds we want what they have or possess. We are jealous and resentful of them for having it; believing it should belong to us. Hopefully, we can agree this is wrong and perverted, if we have envy, we have a problem.
Is it wrong to desire the good things and good qualities of others? Yes, if you want what belongs to them. However, if you are inspired to duplicate those good things in your life, and are inspired to work and acquire them through you own efforts, then “No” it is not wrong. Envy can be a fine line. It is wrong to want what someone else has; to wish it away from them, and to have it instead of them. It is not wrong to want the same kind of things as long as we do not want theirs. We have seen kids want another child’s toy so badly they physically took it away. We may have done this when we were young. We wanted what belong to someone else. This is envy. Little children know no better. Adults should know better. We should be glad for other’s fortune and good success, not wish it away from them.
Red flags, warning sirens, buzzers and all kinds of alerts should sound whenever we cross the line of acceptable thought processes or actions. Wanting what someone else has should make bells and whistles go off. It is undesirable and dangerous for us to succumb to envy.
It is good to seek to have the same desirable skills, traits, and abilities of those we respect and admire. It is good to be inspired by others to do better ourselves. Learning from role models, heroes and good examples are one of the best ways to learn. Most of us have our heroes and heroines. We have our favorite personages. Let us learn and grow from their examples and let us be careful not to cross the line and be envious of them in the process. Envy is a character flaw that degrades us.
Challenge: Is envy ever an issue that creeps into your life? If it does, do not engage it. Fight it off and dispose of it. Turn the situation that causes it into a positive instead of a negative. Be inspired by the success and accomplishment of others. What skills or attributes do they have that you would like to acquire or master? Study what they have done and learn by their example. Use this as an opportunity “to grow” but not “to envy”.
Wisdom: Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate. William A Ward
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. I Corinthians 14:13
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30
Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple. Job 5:22
The way to be happy is to make others happy, not by acquiring things. If this is really true, so many of us are chasing the wind. We are seeking joy and happiness in the wrong places. The Bible tells us that doing things for others; love, the Golden Rule; these are the things that count. Envy is on the other end of the spectrum, wanting what others have, is not the answer. God is love, the more of him we let into our hearts, the less we will envy.
Prayer: Help me not to envy. Help me to learn from their good witness and example.