The Seven Deadly Sins: Envy

The second of the Perverted Loves is Envy. Envy, though akin to greed or avarice is taken beyond an excessive love for one’s own welfare to the desire to deprive another of that thing which you desire. Where greed would work an ingratitude to God for all that he has given you. Envy works in you a failure to rejoice in the blessings which God has given others. In this light, Sayers writes,

“Envy differs from Pride in that it contains always an element of fear….The envious man is afraid of losing something by the admission of superiority in others, and therefore looks with grudging hatred upon other men’s gifts and good fortune, taking every opportunity to run them down or deprive them of their happiness.”

It is the activity of desiring to “deprive them of their happiness” which makes this not merely a sin against God but a sin against neighbor.

Envy robs us of gratitude, envy refuses to enter into Joy, it seeks to deprive others of their Joy, but most seriously, Envy displaces mercy. The diagnostic question to ask is: “Are you saddened by your neighbor’s prosperity OR are you saddened by your neighbor’s misfortune?” An envious man is saddened by his neighbor’s prosperity. How does that hit you?

Jesus tells us, Blessed are the merciful. He doesn’t say, Blessed are those who live envious lives. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” It was the mercy and kindness of our Heavenly Father that moved him to be merciful to wretches like us.

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