To continue a series I started last week on my experience with each of there seven deadly sins, today…. Envy.
To categorically consider envy as sin is rather difficult in modern society. Our global economic system that is built on the notion that one person wants what he/she sees others having; they, therefore, work hard to attain it. Envy — this desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation – drives ambition. Surely this desire, if kept in check, is not sinful…at least not in modern time.
Historically, things were different. When the seven deadly sins were conceived, upward mobility was not an option for most. If you were born a peasant, you would die a peasant; as would your children and their children. The idea of rising above your station was not really a ‘thing’ then.
But these days, a little healthy envy and greed (we’ll get to that sin later this week) can be what drives you to succeed.
I’m not saying that all envy is good. I have seen many a relationship and people destroyed by envy. A good friend has been buried under insurmountable debt since his first day in university (he is 45 years old now) because of an uncontrollable need to acquire every toy or trip that any friend of colleague has. Sure, lots of people are in debt – especially in this economy. But this guy shouldn’t be. He is a doctor and makes about $500,000 a year. Yet, he is a ball of stress because (i) he knows he can never get himself out form under the debt he has built up and (ii) he knows he can’t stop. His desire to keep up this the Jones, the Smiths and the Cavannahs is just too strong.
Fo me… what do I envy. I will focus on the bad… because this is suppose to be about sinning. There are two things I envy, both of which I hope make me strive to be a better person, but still cause me a little stress in my life. First, those men who draw others to them like magnetics. I am jealous of those men who walk into a room and command attention. Secondly, men who don’t lose their looks over time. I remember, as a slightly younger guy, I would get free coffees or drinks at the bars and cafes I hung out after a little flirting with waitresses; I can’t pull it off anymore and I miss that, and I am envious of those who can.
So, what are you envious of?