Alexander Pope wrote,
“All human virtue, to its latest breath
Finds envy never conquer’d, but by death.”
Envy, according to Webster, means pain, uneasiness, mortification or discontent excited by the sight of another’s superiority or success, accompanied with some degree of hatred or malignity, and often or usually with a desire or an effort to depreciate the person, and with pleasure in seeing him depressed. Envy springs from pride, ambition or love, mortified that another has obtained what one has a strong desire to possess.
Pope’s words are confirmed by history. Envy is one of the worst vices to plague the universe.
Because of envy Satan fell.
Because of envy Adam sinned.
Because of envy Cain killed Abel.
Because of envy Esau hated his brother Jacob and planned on murdering him.
Because of envy Joseph’s brothers sold him into bondage.
Because of envy Moses’ countrymen rejected him saying, “Wilt thou reign over us?”
Because of envy Miriam was smitten with leprosy.
Because of envy Dathan and Abiram went down alive into the pit.
Because of envy Saul persecuted David.
Because of envy the religious leaders delivered up our Lord Jesus to death.
Because of envy the Apostles were persecuted.
Because of envy the false Apostles tried to win over Paul’s converts.
Envy and strife brought sin and death into the world, have overthrown great cities, rooted up mighty nations, corrupted commerce, dissolved organizations, poisoned the work-place environment, broken-up families, and ruined individual lives and reputations. “For where envying and strife is,” says the Apostle James, “there is confusion and every evil work.” Envy, according to King Solomon, is “the rottenness of the bones.”
But there is a cure for envy – only one.
Love, according to the Apostle Paul, “envieth not.” Adam Clarke, commenting on this passage, says love is “not grieved because another possesses a greater portion of earthly, intellectual, or spiritual blessings. Those who have this pure love rejoice as much at the happiness, the honor, and comfort of others, as they can do in their own. They are ever willing that others should be preferred before them.” Paul also says, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor.” Romans 13:10.
God is Love. Love is defined by giving, for God so loved the world that He gave…” God is the great giver because God is love.
“Love suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…”
Who are we to extend love to?
“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men…” 1 Thess. 3:12
God is love. God is the Savior of all Mankind. God loves all mankind. We are told to be imitators of God. Let us, therefore, conquer envy with love – love for all mankind.
Envy will be vanquished by love.