Summary: Envy is the second pillar in unhealthy relationships that we’re going to look at this morning.
INTRO: There is a fable that Satan’s agents were failing in their various attempts to draw into sin a holy man who lived as a hermit in the desert of northern Africa. Every attempt had met with failure, so Satan, angered with the incompetence of his subordinates, became personally involved in the case. He said, "The reason you have failed is that your methods are too crude for one such as this. Watch this."
He then approached the holy man with great care and whispered softly in his ear, "Your brother has just been made Bishop of Alexandria." Instantly the holy man’s face showed that Satan had been successful; a great scowl formed over his mouth and his eyes tightened up.
"Envy," said Satan, "is often our best weapon against those who seek holiness."
TS: Envy is the second pillar in unhealthy relationships that we’re going to look at this morning, but first let’s review for those who have missed.
I. We looked at gossiping.
A. We looked at what gossiping does.
-It separates close friends,
-It ignites fights and quarrels,
-It brings division,
-It will change you at the very core of who you are.
B. Imagine the healthy environment we could live in if there was no gossiping. -Imagine what the world would be like.
TS: Imagine what the world would be like without envy.
TITLE: Relationship Busters – Part 2
TEXT: James 3:16
I. What is envy? Let’s first discuss this.
A. Definition of the word.
1.Webster’s: Envy is a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.
2.Envy in the original language means a contentious rivalry, jealousy, a stirring of outbursts.
B. Other sayings about envy.
1.Les Parrott (in "High Maintenance Relationships"): Envy is not a gentle emotion, it’s aggressive, unlike jealousy, which focuses on possessing what you desire, envy focuses on taking something you desire away from the person who owns it.
-Envy is not just wanting what the other person has; envy is wanting the other person not to have it.
2.Aristotle: Envy is the sin against the brother.
3.Greek proverb: Envy slays itself by its own arrows.
4.Jewish proverb: Envy is like a disease, it consumes the soul.
5.Martin Luther: Too many Christians envy the sinners their pleasure and the saints their joy because they don’t have either one.
Thought: When you hear people talk about envy, they use the phrase "green with envy". Why do they say this? Maybe because it’s the most sickening thing.
C. What the text says about envy.
1.For where you have envy, there you will find disorder and every evil practice. -Disorder means confusion which comes from instability.
Example. Think of the Tower of Babel as an example. From man’s point of view, the building of the tower was a wise thing to do. But from God’s point of view the project was stupid and sinful. As a result, God brought confusion.
Point: So when envy is in our lives there is confusion (not knowing the right thing). It brings disorder to your mind and life.
-If confusion (disorder) is not bad enough, James tells us
2.Every evil practice will be there.
-Every evil work. So the idea is if there is envy there is the possibility to have every evil work around.
Illustrate. Remember the first Gulf War when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. He was envious of his rich neighbors. He wanted it so he sent in his armies. The world stepped in and forced him out.
So what did he do as he left? He torched the oil fields. If he couldn’t have them, neither could anyone else.
Point: Now that we have seen what envy can do in a dictator’s heart, think for a moment of all the evil that James said would be around—envy, rape, murder, torture, kidnapping, theft, and who knows what other atrocities were done to the Kuwait people, not to mention the atrocities that were committed in Iraq by using chemical weapons on his own people and the mass graves that have been uncovered.
II. How does envy invade our lives?
A. Let’s focus on some biblical examples.
1. Cain and Abel, the two sons of Adam and Eve.
-Abel worked with the livestock. Cain worked with the soil or crops.
-One day they brought offerings to the Lord. Cain brought fruit from the land and Abel brought some of his first-born animals. God accepted Abel’s offering and looked with favor on him while Cain’s offering was rejected.
-The end result—Cain ended up killing Abel, his brother.
a. When you don’t get what you want, as disappointment grows, and as ambition and desire are thwarted, conditions become ripe for the toxic fumes of envy.
2. Another story is King Saul and his new young boy wonder David who killed the giant Goliath of Gath. David was moving up the ranks of popularity and power because God’s hand of blessing was on him.