Love Does Not Envy

“If we love our neighbor we shall be so far from envying his welfare, or being displeased with it, that we shall…rejoice at it.” – Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible

“…Love is the fulfilling of the law.” – Romans 13:10b

“Rejoice with those who rejoice…” – Romans 12:15a

“…Love does not envy…” – 1 Corinthians 13:4

“Let us not become conceited… envying one another.” – Galatians 5:26

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” – 1 Peter 2:1

I could continue listing off quotes from Scripture and other writings that talk about love and envy, but I’ll stop there. I’m going to try to make this article as simple as possible. What does it mean that “love does not envy”? Before I can answer this question, I think that we should take a moment and quickly examine who we are called to love. This will be crucial information in discovering what it means that “love does not envy”.

We should love everyone; friends, family, neighbors, and even our enemies.

“Wait! Back up the truck! Love everyone?” – You, reading this article.

Yes.

I meant what I said and I said what I meant.

Now, obviously there are different levels of love that we have for others, but despite the varying depths of our love, we are called to love others. Love your enemies, love your neighbor, love everyone. Don’t pass me off as some crazy “love guy” with wacky ideas. I’m not saying that you have to be buddy-buddy with strangers; I’m saying that you have to genuinely love others. Those who have written articles earlier this month have done well defining what love is, so I won’t give you an in-depth description at this time. Love everyone.

Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s incorporate the primary topic of this article. We should not be envious of anyoneBringing this into realistic terms: the guy across the street with the new car, the girl in your school with all the trendiest clothes, the dude with every gaming console imaginable… we are not supposed to envy any of these people. It’s SO HARD!!! I struggle with wanting nice things, especially when my friends have something that is better than what I have. Your struggle with envy, as well as mine, is not due to other people having nice things; it’s a heart issue. So let’s go digging through the heart and do some weed-pulling.

Envy begins when we become discontent with what God has given us. Are you content with the material possessions? No? Well, let’s pull that weed right now. Pray and ask God to give you a contented spirit. 

Envy is telling God, “You haven’t given me enough”. It always hurts when someone puts your sin into words, so I’m sorry to be the one to do that. But hey, I’ve been there; I still am there fighting the urge to say this to God. I want to tell you that this is a lie, planted in your head by Satan. God, in and of himself is more than enough for us (or should be). Perhaps the problem is that you’re not experiencing God in the fullest sense. 

We often rationalize envy. This is one of those things that we tend to do with all sorts of sins. “Doesn’t God want me to have nice things?” “I’m not really envying, I just don’t like what I’ve been given” and more are statements that are dangerous to us as Christians. When we rationalize sin, we are in greater danger than when we recognize sin for what it is.

Envy reaches its climax when we decide that we would “give anything” to have what someone else has. God blesses us each in different ways; I’m noticing this more and more as I get older.We cross a line when we begin wishing for what others have.

Alright, pull those weeds. I know that you can do it.

To recap: 

Envy begins when we become discontent with what God has given us.

Envy is telling God, “You haven’t given me enough”.

We often rationalize envy.

Envy reaches its climax when we decide that we would “give anything” to have what someone else has.

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