Envy is resenting God’s goodness to others while ignoring God’s goodness to me.
In the parable of the vineyard workers, Jesus tells a story of some extremely envious workers. The problem was they saw people who hired on later in the day getting paid the same amount that they did.
These envious workers were paid a fair wage. They got what they had agreed to. They just expected to get more. When they didn’t, they were upset and disappointed. (See Matthew 20:1-16.)
To get rid of the envy in your life, stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison is at the root of all envy, and comparing was the very first mistake made by these workers.
The early hires started playing the comparison game. They saw those who were hired later were getting as much as they were. They were thinking they deserved more.
The Bible warns us over and over to avoid the comparison trap. There is absolutely no value in comparing, whether we are talking about your looks, your paycheck, your kids, your intelligence, your spouse, etc. There is no win in comparison.
Comparison typically leads to one of two sins: pride or envy. When you start comparing yourself with others, you go down the road of “I am better than them,” which leads to pride, or “they are better than me,” which leads to envy.
Another antidote to envy is to learn to celebrate God’s goodness to others. Are you genuinely happy when God is blessing somebody else? This is learned behavior for most of us.
Just think how this story would have been different if the initial group of workers could have chosen to celebrate with those who worked less. But they didn’t do that. Instead of enjoying the blessing with them, they resented the other workers. They resented what the landowner had done … with his own money.
In Romans 12:15 we are told to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Which is easier for you? To rejoice with those who rejoice or to weep with those who weep?
If we’re honest, sometimes it is more difficult to rejoice in the success of others. We seem to have a scarcity mentality. It is like we think the world is a giant pie and it’s divided up into slices. If somebody gets a bigger slice, then that must mean my slice has to be smaller.
Do you think God ever runs out of blessings? Do you think God ever runs out of grace?
Just because God blesses somebody else, that does not mean there is not enough blessings for you. More next time.
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at steve@goto thepoint.com.