On Sunday we looked at the deadly sin of envy. Envy is similar to jealously but they are very different. Jealousy desires what someone else has, envy wants to destroy what someone else has. Jealousy wants other people’s things, envy wants to be the only one with things. A perfect picture is the story of Snow White. In it the queen asks the mirror “Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all”. And when Snow White is named, the queen must wreck, ruin, and destroy snow white. Just so we’re clear the Queen is still beautiful, but that is not enough for envy. The Queen must be the most beautiful, and destroy anything that threatens that. That’s envy. Envy, when it cannot have what it wants, destroys. That is why it is so dangerous.
The second reason it is so dangerous is that it thrives in community. In fact, you need community for envy to even be a possibility. Will WIllimon said, “Envy works best at close range.” This is true. We are often jealous of people distant from us, and envious of those closest to us. We may be jealous of Katy Perry and her fame, but we generally don’t want to destroy her or see her fail. In contrast to that, we sometimes do want our sister, brother-in-law, or neighbor to fail. This is why it’s so dangerous, because it wrecks community.
So much of the strife in our relationships is because we are envious. We are envioius of our brother who gets preferential treatment, so we want to see them slip up. We are envious of a co-worker who never gets reprimanded, so we hope for them to screw up. But what is at the root of envy? Well many church fathers said this: a lack of trust in God.
We get envious when we believe that God is withholding good from us. That we are being shortchanged by God. In essence, envy thrives when we disbelieve God’s goodness. And since this is so closely tied to envy we ended with a challenge. The challenge was this: for one week keep a journal of God’s goodness to you. If feeling envious is tied to a lack of trust in God’s goodness, then we need to create habits to remind us of the generosity, goodness, and grace of God.
So it’s a simple thing to do but it could be a life changing thing. Because whenever we get centred in the fact that God is good, we can live differently. We no longer need to be tied to envy and hurt, instead we can be set free. And that’s something worth finding.
Big Idea: Envy is a problem
- Envy is a subtle sin Jealousy wants things, envy wants to the be the only one who has things.
- “Envy works best at close range” Will Wiilimon
- Envy is about close relationships and it’s about enjoying when they fail.
- While greed is primarily about possessions, envy is about one’s place in the world. Where greed wants the good things that others have, envy wants to be the only one who has good things. Envy delights in spoiling what others have. Michael Mangis
- Envy leads to destruction every time.
- At the root of envy is a lack of trust in God.
- Envy is dissatisfaction with who God has made me to be. It is also suspicious that God is withholding what I deserve and giving it to someone else. Michael Mangis
- Envy is a problem
- Love overcomes envy.
- Get rid of envy by getting closer to God.
Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? Had you understood what envy was before today? How has envy wrecked relationships in your life? Is there anyone you tend to feel envious of? How can you grow closer to God this week? What good things has God done for you?
Discussion Questions / Actions for Young Families: Today talk to your kids about envy. Talk to them about how sometimes we want what other people have. But be proactive against envy, have them write out reasons why they are thankful to God. Have them make a picture, or share reasons for being thankful to God. The more they are rooted in that, the harder it will be for envy to take root.
Challenge for this Week: Get rid of envy by getting closer to God