Chapter 18 of Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges focuses on envy. This chapter shares many connections and examples of envy and how easy it is to become envious of someone. First, it is important to understand what envy is, Bridges shares that “Envy is the painful and oftentimes resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by someone else” (Bridges) Here Bridges is stating that envy is an action or thought that begins when that person wants what others have. Bridges went on to explain this, “Sometimes we want that same advantage, leading to the further sin of covetousness. And sometimes we just resent the other person having something we don't have.” (Bridges) This can happen when one parent is envious of another when their child is better at sports or when one teacher is envious that the other teacher is getting more recognition. Even when your neighbor down the street has a bigger house with a pool just like you have always wanted. This is called envy; wanting something that someone else has.
So the question is what does the bible have to say about, Proverbs 14:30 which states, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” (NIV) This verse is explaining that envy takes a toll on our hearts and body and is not something that we should be doing and thinking about. We are called to be content and grateful for what God gives and provides for us. We see this call in Galatians 5:26, “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (NIV) When we are envious of others were are becoming not content with what we have, this is a sin. Bridges state that “But when we are tempted to envy, we should realize that envy, though it may be a subtle and seemingly minor sin to us, is listen among the vile sins that Paul catalogues in Romans 1:29.” (Bridges) Here Bridges is making the connection that in Romans 1:29 where it is explained that it is not good or it is sinful to be filled with envy as well as murder. God is very clear that we are not to be envious, yet it can be so easy to do.
I can relate to the feeling of seeing others becoming more successful or even entering seasons of life you wish you were. Right now most of my friends in the last year have gotten married or started families. This is something that I have always wanted for myself. Therefore I can easily think to myself about how I wish I had what they had. But that isn't going to help me, rather it will hinder my relationship with that person and instead of celebrating a new season, I become sad or even envious of what they have. If I am being honest with myself and my friends, I know that God doesn't have me in that season because I am not ready, and when I am God will place that in my life. Sometimes it is easier to become frustrated knowing that others have what you want but it's important that we stay content with what season we are in and learn what we can in that season.
Bridges, Jerry. “15.” Respectable Sins, NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO, 2017.
Holy Bible: New International Version. Zondervan, 2017.
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