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What is envy? Dictionary.com defines envy this way:
Envy – a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.
Have you ever felt envy? I sure have, and I can tell you, envy is a horrible, sickening feeling that won’t allow you to rest or feel peace, because someone else has something that you feel they don’t deserve, or more accurately, someone else has something that you believe should be yours.
Beloved reader, believe me when I tell you that nothing good has ever come from envy. If you cultivate envy in your heart, you can be sure that bitterness will take root in your heart immediately, as you fixate your thoughts on why you, and not the other person should be the recipient of his/her bounty. It matters not whether it is material possessions or emotional or spiritual possessions that you envy and desire, because all envy leads to bitterness, and bitterness leads to anger, wrath, hatred, and murderous thoughts.
You see, I know all too well that this is the path envy takes, because for years, I was envious. And understand this, too, envy may begin with one lone instance and one lone person, but all too soon, it spreads to others as well. I can remember envying my sister for our parents’ love, and then it spread to others, friends, neighbors, enemies, etc. All too soon, I even envied people I didn’t personally know, because they had what I longed for and thought that I deserved.
There’s something else you need to know about envy. When you allow envy to blacken your heart, it also blackens your vision, and all too soon, you are unable to see the truth that is in front of you, because your blackened heart only sees that it has been wronged. When your heart is in this blinded envious state, you are unable to see that there are others who may offer you the very thing you long for (in my instance, it was love), therefore, you will ignore, overlook or even push away the very ones who truly do love you.
I remember being so envious of others, who were popular, and seemed to have it all, the love of their parents, good looks, riches, intelligence, etc., while I had nothing. I was so blinded and bitter from my envious thoughts, that I couldn’t recognize the truth from a lie. If someone claimed to love me, I was so sure they wanted something from me, and wanted to hurt me, that I doubted their love, and pushed them away.
16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
It was crazy. I hated my parents for not loving me enough. I hated my sister, because I blamed her for taking all of my parents’ love away from me. I hated children at school, who seemed to be loved by teachers, other classmates, and their parents, while I believed that no one loved me. This crazy envy that had led to bitterness and hatred, also led me to do many other stupid things.
I began to lie, in order to win people over to me. Now, isn’t that the craziest thing ever? After all, no one loves a liar. Jesus even said this to men who had lied and deceived themselves and others (I would have been included in this also).
44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
You see, in my bitterness and envy, I had also become a liar, and I was indeed a child of the devil, who was a liar and a murderer from the beginning, and had no truth within him. Please don’t think I’m exaggerating, because this is truly the course that envy leads us on. You see, envy led me on a murderous course, one that could only lead to judgment, condemnation, death and hell…
15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
It wasn’t until I met and fell in love with Jesus, my Lord and Savior, that my eyes were opened to the truth about my petty little life. I had been living a life filled with envy, anger, malice, hatred, and murder, which had completely blinded me to the truth. You see, I even had the audacity to feel justified in my bitterness and envy, when the truth was, that I was just as guilty, and in many instances, even more so, than those who had sinned against me.
As Jesus began revealing these truths to me, through His Holy Spirit, I began to see that I was the one who needed to repent and to seek forgiveness from those I had sinned against, and the first one I needed forgiveness from was God, so I asked Him to forgive me in Jesus’ name.
The next one I needed forgiveness from was my sister. You see, the things I blamed her and envied her for, weren’t true. She didn’t steal my parents’ love from me. She couldn’t control the actions of the adults in our lives as a child, nor could she control our parents’ actions as an adult. She was a little girl, caught in the middle of what must have been a horrible situation for her too, but envy had blinded me to this truth. I am truly sorry for the envy, bitterness, hatred and malice I held against my sister for far too long, while at the same time, as crazy as it seems, I loved her like crazy. You see, I deluded myself into thinking that it was okay for me to be angry and bitter towards her, but it wasn’t okay for anyone else to hurt her.
It took the love of a merciful Savior, to show me that it was never okay for me to have anything, but love for my sister. And, do you want to know something amazing??? When I allowed Jesus to strip the envy from me, bitterness, hatred, malice and murder left my heart. In its place was pure, unconditional love for this sister whom I had envied for far too long.
We’ve never had a close relationship, and for that, I share some of the blame. Maybe, we’ll never have a close relationship, because the fact is we were never encouraged to cultivate one as children. Indeed, we were often pitted against each other as children and even as adults, but I can honestly say this. The envy I once felt for my sister is dead and gone, as is all bitterness against her. She will always be my baby sister, and I will always love her, even if it’s from afar.
Beloved reader, if your heart is filled with envy and bitterness against someone or against many, I urge you to relinquish that envy and bitterness, because it will only destroy your life, and you will miss out on all the love and joy that God has for you. Please ask for God’s forgiveness, and for the forgiveness of those your envy has harmed, then stand back, and wait for the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, to fall upon you. Finally, beloved reader, remember this: