Envy


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CAST AWAY                  Envy – Mary Ann

Genesis 4:1-8

The man Adam knew his wife Eve intimately. She became pregnant and gave birth to Cain, and said, “I have given life to a man with the Lord’s help.” She gave birth a second time to Cain’s brother Abel. Abel cared for the flocks, and Cain farmed the fertile land.

Some time later, Cain presented an offering to the Lord from the land’s crops while Abel presented his flock’s oldest offspring with their fat. The Lord looked favorably on Abel and his sacrifice but didn’t look favorably on Cain and his sacrifice. Cain became very angry and looked resentful. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why do you look so resentful? If you do the right thing, won’t you be accepted? But if you don’t do the right thing, sin will be waiting at the door ready to strike! It will entice you, but you must rule over it.”

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Envy is the emotional root and a subtle form of hate—resenting the good and rejoicing in the bad that occurs to one’s neighbor. It is a social sin, hurting our relationships (even to the point of murder, as in the case of Cain and Abel), and squelches joy in its tracks, as it maximizes others’ good fortune and minimizes the blessings we ourselves enjoy. Envy leads us to criticize others and to attribute others’ success to sheer luck, which makes us passive and (contrary to popular belief) unmotivated to work harder ourselves. A close cousin of Pride, Envy weighs and ranks and compares, making our neighbors into competitors, and our own blessings a prize to be boasted, rather than a gift to be shared.

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