September 22, Acting Out Envy

Today’s reading: Psalms 106-110

“In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord” - Psalm 106:16.

Envy is a sneaky disease, for you can look at someone’s success, goods, relationships. reputation, money, job, ministry or looks, and secretly want what they have. In fact, you can get downright angry and agitated that you don’t have what they have. That can lead to 1) bitterness; 2) an effort to get things similar to what they have; 3) an effort to actually take what they have; 4) a campaign to minimize what they have through sarcasm or character assassination; or 5) all of the above. In other words, envy is a dangerous attitude that must be dealt with ruthless abandon. The story of Cain and Abel is rooted in envy and we read the tragic results in Genesis 4:

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him (4:2b-8).

Are you envious of someone else? What is that doing to your thoughts and actions? How do you feel toward the person whom you envy? What are you going to do if you are envious?