Its natural and quite healthy to admire lovely things. You may find yourself admiring your workmate's new suit that he bought at the Debenham's blue cross sale. Or the fact that your neighbour has returned home with a lovely tan he got on a cruise in the Caribbean. Its natural and even polite to sincerely compliment the owner of the things you admire. However if you find yourself seething because your friend has bought a bigger house than yours or married a prettier wife than yours then the warning bells should start ringing. Or if you find yourself fuming and turning dark green like a fresh piece of brocolli from Tesco or a lighter shade of green like Fiona from Shrek then you know you've got a problem. Yes ... like it or not, admit it or not..you're envious of other people.
One dictionary says that envy is "a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc."
The other day I was sitting in a park with a friend and we were eating fries. Now as you would have it, some birds started hanging around us, don't know if we just looked like good company or maybe the birds were hoping we would be in a sharing mood and give them some of our fries...
On our part dunno if it was kindness or the fries getting cold but we started throwing bits of fries to the birds (and before you get cross, they were NOT pigeons so relax...I know you're not suposed to feed those birds) The most interesting thing was that the birds started fighting for the fries. If one got a piece, the others would try and peck it away from them. It was funny and yet sad to watch. There was plenty to go round but it seemed they were all kind of "envious" when another got it.
I reckon that we all suffer from envy at some point in our lives...and if you're shaking you head and saying "not me"... (well I need to talk to our heavenly Daddy and see if we can get a Halo sorted out for you coz you're one exceptional child of God who needs to be raptured as soon as possible before the rest of us contaminate you!)
Now envy is not a great thing but before you go hang yourself in shame and mortification, give yourself a little credit (micro little ok) for admitting that you have a problem. Sadly many don't even get to this point of self awareness.
As the bible shows envy can often lead to serious consequences if unchecked. Cain killed Abel because of envy and even Jesus was accused falsely and crucified because of envy.
Right so we all probably agree that envy aint cool right, so now the question is what do we do about it?
As children of God we are so fortunate to have the privilege of going to God in prayer. That should always be our first step in every situation. Please don't take this lightly...yeah yeah I'm supposed to pray, I pray all the time...DO pray specifically about envy and ask the Holy Spirit to help you deal with this issue.
Like David prayed in Psalms 139:23 , "Search my heart oh God ...." Lets ask God to search our heart and "create a clean heart...and renew a right spirit..." within us. (Psalm 51:10)
Next ask yourself some hard questions? Why do you think you feel the way you do? Are you insecure? What is it exactly that you want in your life? Are you afraid that God is not going to bless your life as he has done for others?
Maybe the answers to these questions could help shed some light on your situation or maybe they wont...
Also read books that talk about how to overcome envy, listen to sermons, talk to other mature Christians you trust - find out about their experiences how they've been dealing wit it and also look for scriptures to help you.
Another thing which may help is to do what American show host, Dr Phil McGraw advises,
" Three assignments to change the way you look at the world in one week:
- Every day for one week, write down 100 blessings in your life. Do not repeat one blessing.
- Find every member of your family in one week, on the phone or in person, and tell them three things that you're thankful for about having them in your life. You don't have to tell them it's an assignment; just weave it into the conversation if you prefer.
- At least once this same week, go to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen and volunteer for eight hours. Then sit down and write about your experience there. "