The Only Cure for Envy

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?

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  1. I tend to struggle with envy because of my own insecurities and inadequacies. I like to quote and pray I Peter 5:6-7.
    Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God….casting all your care on Him for He cares for you. I purposely leave out “that He may exalt you in due time” for that does not help my envy, it only makes me want “my reward”. Then I really DO cast my care on Him. He cares about what we care about. So, yes, you are right. The only cure for envy is God. Humbling and submitting oneself to God is the only answer if we really do believe He is in charge of our lives, we have to believe He permitted whatever it is we envy.

  2. How sad and ironic that envy is a problem in the church. The whole suffers and is deprived due to the envy of one part that at times can effect it. Jealousy, gossip and covetousness are it's brothers. Worse yet, is when the envious use humility to cover it.
    Vain imaginations seem to be at the root sometimes.

    Do you really want what someone else has or just the attention?
    We all need to attend to each other – love each other – bare one another's burdens – rejoice in their successes and comfort the weary. You are correct Heather, in that focusing on God – what is He thinking or what would He do and emulating that, would be a remedy for envy. : )