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Why is envy a sin?

q.gif (1639 bytes)     Why is envy a sin?  I envy but I think with good reason.  I envy those who I feel deep inside have it better than I do and for that more happier.  For instance I live in N.Y.C and when I go downtown to the rich neighborhoods, everything is decent.  I live in the ghetto and it sucks so of course I envy those that are wealthy and live in those environments.  Another example of envying is when I see guys with girls who I want and just can't get that's where I envy the most and of course on other stuff.  My question is why would this be considered a sin?


a.gif (1659 bytes)   The word “envy” is defined as “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, joined with a desire to possess the same advantage” (Merriam Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). That sounds about exactly what you are feeling now, does it not?

As you notice in the definition, and in your life, the first problem that you are having is that you are comparing yourself to other people. We all have to fight that problem. The Bible tells us not to compare ourselves to other people. II Corinthians 10:12 says, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

Comparing ourselves to other people can hurt us two ways. First, if we compare ourselves to other people, and think that we are thus “okay,” or “pretty good,” that could give us a false standard. The people to whom we are comparing ourselves are not going to judge us one day — God is. God is the standard of what is right and wrong — not man. Matthew 5:48 says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” God sets the standard — not man. If we compare ourselves to other people, we might think that we are “pretty good,” but we might not be prepared to meet God at all

The word “envy” is found 20 times in 19 verses of the Bible. Let’s see if we can get an answer to your question from those verses. Proverbs 3:31-35 says, “ENVY THOU NOT the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous. The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.”

We are told not to envy the “oppressor.” You are envying the wealthy with their nice homes, etc. Are they “oppressors?” According to the Bible, many times the rich do oppress the poor. James 2:5-7 says, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. DO NOT RICH MEN OPPRESS YOU, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?” The rich are sometimes quick to talk down at the poor, and to treat them like dirt. Proverbs 18:23,24 says, “The poor useth entreaties; but THE RICH ANSWERETH ROUGHLY. A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

What we must remember when we see the rich with their nice big homes, and their fancy, new cars, and all of the other things that money buys; is that all of those things are only temporary. I Timothy 6:6-10 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and IT IS CERTAIN WE CAN CARRY NOTHING OUT. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

You cannot see it many times from the outward perspective, but many of the rich are empty inside. They are not happy. They are not satisfied. Much of what they have is not even really theirs. The big fancy home requires huge payments to the bank. The fancy, new car, requires big payments to the loan company. They may appear to have more, but their big checks are all gone on pay day.

As far as the matter of envying guys that are with gals, I would encourage you to look up the marriage Bible Courses on this Web Site (the first one can be seen at “http://www.pathwaynet.com/libertyb/biblecrs/marriage/mariage1.htm”. We would be happy to send you a printed copy, if you will send us your address. You will learn in them the right way to find a godly wife, without sinning in your heart and mind. You should only consider courting one girl, the one to whom you are engaged to be married.

One of the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:17, is, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife.” As you can see from this one commandment alone, envying and coveting people’s houses, or wives/girlfriends is sin. It is breaking one of the Ten Commandments.

Jesus died on the cross to cleanse us from all of our sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I Corinthians 15:3,4 says, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” If you have never repented of your sin, and received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, do it today. Acts 3:19 says, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”

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