“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
To envy is to desire something that someone else has – a possession, status, acclaim, recognition, affirmation. Unfortunately, envy often produces resentment over the fact that the other person has the very thing that I want. Envy stems from wounded pride. It is stirred up and thrives on comparing myself with someone else: what he or she has that I want but don’t have.
Envy is essentially competitive. It proceeds from fear – the fear that if someone else has something, there’s not going to be enough for me: enough love, or status, or approval. Envy believes in scarcity, the opposite of generosity and open – heartedness. It clutches and desires to acquire in order to feel secure. It’s Cain killing his brother Abel, or Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. It’s the breaking of the 10th Commandment having to do with “coveting”.
How easy it is to fall into this state of envy! In our insecurities and competitiveness, we surely sometimes find ourselves “weeping” when another person – even a friend – is favored instead of celebrating with them. And perhaps worse, we might, out of malice, secretly rejoice in another’s misfortune rather than “weeping” with them. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
So what’s the remedy for this poison in our souls? Gratitude for what we have, actively and continuously practiced. Appreciation for God’s blessings instead of comparing ourselves with others. Reminding ourselves that everything good comes from a generous God, who is kind and merciful to all, not just the “deserving”.
And especially, growing in my intimate personal experience with Christ; experience which convinces my heart that He will always take care of me and provide for what I really need. All I need to do is pray without ceasing, trust myself to Him, and wait. Simple, but not easy. Thankfully, He will help us if we ask.