Summary: Envy is defined as “A feeling of discontentment or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck.”
Paulo Coelho de Souza, the Brazilian lyricist and novelist once remarked: "The Soul of the World is nourished by people's happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy. To realize one's Personal Legend is a person's only real obligation. All things are one. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." Matthew 27:18 states: “For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.”
Envy is defined as “A feeling of discontentment or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck.” It is famed for its notable stance as one of the seven deadly sins. The desire to own, or become jealous of the assets of another is unhealthy and sinful behavior and violates God’s commandment. Exodus 20:17 reminds us: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's."
Envy could be considered the foundation stone of unhappiness as one often feels dissatisfied with what they have. They constantly feel the need for something better in their lives. Some will go to extraordinary lengths to attain what they want, which may include resorting to subterfuge. It can, unfortunately, become destructive to the mind and the body as pique may occur which can give rise to grievance, lack of worth and hostility toward another. It can even result in murderous intent as the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible confirms. It has additionally been associated with mental health issues which can increase the risk of anxiety and depression. It is a perennial emotion that is considered extremely harmful and needs to be eradicated. Proverbs 14:30 states: “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
Envy can conceal shame for our inadequacies and is sometimes considered an in-built defense mechanism to overcome our lack of achievements. Our vanity is severely threatened. However, if we are resentful of someone else's achievements it can help to suppress our failings. It may even cause arrogance and aggression in that it can result in one actually feeling superior to the person who has achieved most. If the truth be known, all it really accomplishes is jealousy. Ecclesiastes 4:4 reminds us: "Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.”
There was once a twelve-year-old Chinese girl named Li Hua, which means "Beautiful pear blossom." She was a relatively happy child, who lived with her sister and doting parents near the city of Beijing. She had already decided that when she eventually attained school leaving age, her ambition was to become a doctor of medicine. She worked hard at her school lessons to attain good grades in all the subjects studied, her favorites being mathematics and science, in these, she excelled. She had spoken to her parents about her choice of intended profession, they were both in total agreement and gave her every encouragement. However, lately, she had unfortunately become affected by envious thoughts.
Her envy was directed toward her sister, who was two years her senior but did not possess the same aptitude or desire for learning. She preferred to play with her friends rather than study in her free time. Her passion outside school was focused on horse riding and other equestrian activities. While the parents were very loving, they did not possess an abundance of money other than for necessary household expenses. The only anomaly that they made, was to allow the elder sister to pursue her interest, even though it was quite costly for them. In reality, they could ill afford it, as it left little money for other incidentals or luxuries. With her interest in medicine, Li Hua had an enthusiasm for reading any literature concerning the subject, especially articles in magazines that had been written by doctors in practice, who often related true stories about incidents that had occurred in their respective careers. This gave her more of an insight into the profession and increased her knowledge as a whole. She had already acquired several books but always felt the need for more. Li Hua asked her parents if they would buy some particular books and magazines for her, but they regretfully declined due to lack of available money.
Li Hua believed that the additional expense incurred by allowing her sister to continue riding lessons was a sheer waste of money that would achieve nothing. Whereas, she could put the books and magazines to good use and this would be much more productive in the long-term. Unhappily, this incurred not only jealousy toward her sister, but also envy in her heart as she felt that her sister was being favored in preference to her.