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Summary: If you have envy in your heart it will cripple your life in so many ways. The Bible illuminates the ways that envy cripples and why God hates it so much.

THE CRIPPLING EFFECTS OF ENVY

(JAMES 4:1-10)

INTRODUCTION:

Envy… I’d like begin today by reading to you a couple of interesting stories I picked up while surfing the Internet a few weeks ago.

Story #1: "The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypisalanti, Michigan at 7:50am, flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away."

Story #2: "Karen Lee Joachimmi, 20, was arrested in Lake City, Florida for robbery of a Howard Johnson’s motel. She was armed with only an electric chain saw, which was not plugged in."

Story #3: "Three guys decided, late one night, to rob a petrol station. Taking in baseball bats and knives they entered and demanded money from the station clerk. But they weren’t aware of a couple of rather important things: The clerk was an ex-Israeli.

The clerk was an ex-Israeli Army officer.

The clerk was an ex-Israeli unarmed-combat instructor.

Needless to say they ended up in hospital. For a long time. (No charges were pressed by the petrol station owner, and the police decided that there wasn’t much point following through.)"

Story #4: "When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motor home’s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had."

Story #5: "Burglars in Larch Barrens, Md., tried to cut through a safe using a Laser Tag gun."

Story #6: "Germany: Oil of Olay no longer turning the trick for her, a woman decided that she would bathe in the milk of a camel (a modern-day Cleopatra). So she stole a camel from the local zoo (where *else* can you find a camel when you need one?) and transported it back to her house – where she realized that the camel’s name was "Otto."

Story #7: "(Location Unknown): A man successfully broke into a bank’s basement through a street-level window, cutting himself up pretty badly in the process. He then realized that (1) he could not get to the money from where he was, (2) he could not climb back out the window through which he had entered, and (3) he was bleeding pretty badly. So he located a phone and dialed "911" for help."

Needless to say the name of the site where I got these stories shouldn’t be much of a surprise to you. The Internet site was called "Stupid People". The reason I shared these stories is because I thought it would give you a slightly humorous look at stupid things people will do when they envy something. For most of these criminals, they went after money - they probably envied the "easy" life that people with lots of money live. The woman with the camel - she envied the smooth skin and good looks that the "aging" women in Oil of Olay commercials portrayed.

What’s not funny, are some of the following excerpts from various articles that I found… e.g. "Leo Wilson, Jr., 16, was shot to death for his Nike sneakers and satin sports jacket, police say." Or how about this one, "Wheatley High School junior Adam Joseph Martin, 18, gave haircuts to neighborhood kids to earn enough to buy his new $125 Nike athletic shoes last week. Saturday night, staring down the barrel of a 9mm pistol on a Houston street, he handed over his prized possessions to two robbers, who fatally shot him anyway."

The people that committed these murders were after a pair of shoes made by Nike. Hmmm….Envy…what will it drive people to do…?

What is envy?

James 3:16 (NIV)

16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

Galatians 5:21 and Romans 1:29-32 list envy as one of the acts of a sinful nature.

Romans 1:29-32 (NIV)

29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

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