I used to think that shame was the most tormenting of human emotions, but lately I’ve observed the way envy causes unimaginable misery. With envy in our hearts, we lose happiness, security, and well-being. We focus on the prosperity of others so much that we cannot see the blessings in our own lives.
Envy is a terrible thing. And it often leads to aggression or at least a secret wish for misfortune to fall upon the prosperous person.
Often, children exhibit unhappiness because of an envious heart. Another child’s achievements, attention, or possessions steals the contentment from the envious child. Another child’s good fortune diminishes the joy this person feels. The envious child begins to resent her own life. She begins to live a life of comparison, discontent, and confusion.
It’s not just children. I’ve experienced envy even last week.
We’ve seen envy in our family, and I’m always at a loss for how to cure it. I usually focus on building self-esteem or minimizing the achievements of the person they envy.
This strategy fails.
It doesn’t get to the root of envy which is this: Envy comes from a distorted view of where one finds the deepest happiness.
I think about how living a life absorbed in God’s love, wanting to please Him, and wanting to serve a hurting world takes our eyes off of others and–most importantly–ourselves.
We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and live a life of love. It takes the power of God in us to change our envious hearts to loving hearts that delight in how God blesses others. It takes the power of God to realize that happiness comes from following His plan for our lives that won’t look like anyone else’s plan. We can no longer compare our lives to others. We no longer feel discontent. We feel happy and at peace.
The only cure for envy is God. If I’m busy loving God and others, I have no reason to envy.
What would you add to this cure for envy?