A Question I Was Asked:

How and Why is Envy Wrong? Can You Explain More About Envy?

How and why is envy wrong? Can you explain some more about envy?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, it is a fair question. We must define what envy and greed are, but also what they are not. It would probably be more accurate to say it is mainly avarice which is sinful. Avarice is an insatiable greed for riches; an inordinate, miserly desire to gain and to hoard wealth. Envy can also be sinful and it is broader, it could be a desire to have what your neighbour has - whatever that might be - with a resulting sadness and depression because you cannot have that thing, or those things. Such feelings can only bring harm to ourselves.

However, a desire to develop, to grow and enjoy a more prosperous life is not envy and certainly not avarice. God has placed a small part of His nature in all of us and that nature always desires improvement. That is good and healthy. Only when others are harmed in the process of one 'improving oneself' does that become wrong. It is not even wrong to notice something your neighbour has and to think, hmm, I would like one of those, but this must be kept in strict balance. We should rejoice when our neighbour enjoys a better existence - certainly we should never begrudge it!

Possibly the most dangerous sign would be if we resent it when others do exceptionally well, we should never resent such a thing, but should rejoice in the successes of others.

Avarice and envy are wrong because they attack spiritual character, eventually, if left unchecked, ruining it. It seems that Lucifer was originally very wise and very beautiful but being in the very highest rank of angels was not good enough for him, he possibly even wanted to join the Holy Trinity itself! But this was not open to Lucifer. Pride and envy led to a complete malformation of his spiritual character, turning him into Satan. Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:14-17.

Robin A. Brace. April 11th, 2015.