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Your Daily Dose of Boldness – 7 Deadly Sins: Envy

7 Deadly Sins: Envy

Each Halloween, we have a costume contest at work. Once, one of my more creative employees decided to come as the 7 Deadly Sins, and it got me thinking about these particular sins and their historical background. Although the 7 Deadly Sins are not Biblical, they are featured in various passages throughout the Bible. Pride, Envy, Avarice, Wrath, Lust, Gluttony, and Sloth are the sins that popes, saints, preachers, artists, writers, dramatists, and musicians have urged believers to avoid at all costs. Over the next several days, we’ll discuss why.

As I researched the topic of envy, I came across a few sites that celebrated its merit, saying that it can spur economic growth and a person’s own ambition when channeled correctly. Can the 7 Deadly Sins be good for us if used correctly? I believe this question can be answered with a resounding “No!” As a fallen society, we are continually justifying the worst in us. It’s easier than trying to correct it, right? So, we say things like greed and envy are suitable for the economy, lust is good for relationships, and we should feel a profound sense of pride in our merits, talents, and accomplishments. However, these excuses lead us down a rather slippery slope of sin. Once we start saying that envy is good, we allow a very prolific and damaging emotion into our hearts and lives.

I found this passage about envy at the site: makewealthhistory.org that I thought encapsulated my feelings on the subject:

Envy is corrosive. It draws us away from what we have and towards what we can’t have. It breeds dissatisfaction and discontent, unhappiness, and low self-esteem. It’s also divisive, pushing a wedge between the haves and the have-nots, eroding trust and increasing suspicion.

Living in envy is no way to live, but being envied is hardly as wonderful as the advertisers imply either. People are jealous and predisposed to find fault, to pull you down and highlight your hypocrisies. (See the gossip magazines at any supermarket checkout for evidence.) We hate the people we envy. Why would we want to be hated?

To say I’ve never been envious would be a lie. I’ve looked at others’ wealth and lavish lifestyles and felt the green claws of envy, and I can honestly say it’s not a positive motivator. Envy did not spur me into production; instead, it made me discontent and annoyed at myself and others. However, when I flip this emotion and celebrate others’ achievements and learn from their successes, I can achieve the same amount of success. Do you see how a small tweak on this emotion can alter the result in vast and beneficial ways?

God does not want us to feel envy. He wants us to be grateful for who we are and what we have. “Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God?” (1 Corinthians 4:7-8)

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ALREADY YOU HAVE ALL YOU WANT! ALREADY YOU HAVE BECOME RICH! YOU HAVE BEGUN TO REIGN—AND THAT WITHOUT US! HOW I WISH THAT YOU REALLY HAD BEGUN TO REIGN SO THAT WE ALSO MIGHT REIGN WITH YOU!

1 CORINTHIANS 4:8


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