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Envy - Deadly Sin of the The Green-Eyed-Monster

Submitted by Joel on Thu, 06/13/2019 - 18:55

Last week I did my best to represent sloth, but this week we're talking about envy and jealousy - desperately wanting what other people have or thinking that someone else is getting better than you and trying to bring them back down to where you are. Jealousy might be closer to greed, which I think is worse than envy, (so I haven't covered it yet!) but they're arguably close enough to be lumped together. 

Wanting something better isn't really so bad, is it?

Envy isn't just about wanting, though... it's more about taking something away from someone (or worrying too much about someone taking something of yours away from you). Think of the 'deadly sin' version as the opposite of sharing. Coveting something. When a child only wants to play with toys because another child is currently playing with it, that's the type of harmful envy or jealousy we're talking about here. It's one of the major causes of conflict, be it a romantic interest or territorial dispute (all's fair in love and war, so they say.)

So all ISN'T fair in love and war?

Really, that's a justification for envious pursuits, isn't it? You want something that someone else has, so you take it. This isn't to be confused with greed, though... greed is wanting MORE. Envy is wanting what you don't have or making sure no one else can have it. They can definitely go hand in hand, but they are distinct. Money isn't really about envy, because pretty much everyone has at least a little something, and if you don't, you're trying to survive. Envy is about a rare commodity so scarce that very few, or even one, can possess it, and then pursuing it without consideration of much else. 

OH! I getcha... so it's not just the want, but taking it without thinking about anyone else but yourself?

Exactly! Striving for more is not usually a bad thing. We should all want to get better for ourselves and our loved ones, but that's not envy. In life, we just need to consider others and be willing to share and be thoughtful. Next week, we get into the first of the really bad deadly sins, at least in my opinion. 

What do you think about jealousy and envy? What's the difference between envy and greed to you? How's my ranking of these sins so far? Only three left!