The Problem With Envy

The Problem With Envy                                              November 12, 2023

          Have you ever looked at another person’s possessions, happiness, or success and said, “I wish that was me.”?  If we’re honest, we’ll admit we have all said it at one time or another.  The problem with envy is that when we compare ourselves to others, it can cause us to be dissatisfied or even miserable with our present status.

          Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, is quoted as saying, “Envy is pain at the sight of another’s good fortune, stirred by those who have what we ought to have.”  God’s word does not fall short when it comes to warnings against the sin of envy.  Here’s a sample:

  • Envy caused the first murder (Genesis 4:5)
  • Joseph’s brothers envied him because of his dreams (Genesis 37:1-11)
  • King Saul envied David because of his victories (I Samuel 18:6-9)
  • Don’t envy evildoers and sinners (Psalms 37:1)
  • Envy is rottenness to the bones (Proverbs 14:30)
  • Envy of another’s skill and hard work is vanity (Ecclesiastes 4:4)
  • The chief priest envied Jesus, delivering him to Pilate (Mark 15:9-10)
  • The Jews envied Paul’s successful preaching (Acts 13:45)
  • Christian love never envies (I Corinthians 13:4)
  • Christians should never envy each other (Galatians 5:26)

          The opposite of envy is rejoicing at the blessings and success experienced by others (I Corinthians 12:26), literally “Rejoicing with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15).  We must congratulate and express our happiness at the good fortune of others, while remaining content and godly which within itself is great gain (I Timothy 6:6).

By Jay Launius


The Great Commission bids us make disciples, not merely believers. 

Jesus was out for disciples, not just “joiners.”

(Vance Havner)

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