Seven Deadly Sins: Envy

envyOn Sunday we looked at the deadly sin of envy. Envy is similar to jealously but they are very different. Jealousy desires what someone else has, envy wants to destroy what someone else has. Jealousy wants other people’s things, envy wants to be the only one with things. A perfect picture is the story of Snow White. In it the queen asks the mirror “Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all”. And when Snow White is named, the queen must wreck, ruin, and destroy snow white. Just so we’re clear the Queen is still beautiful, but that is not enough for envy. The Queen must be the most beautiful, and destroy anything that threatens that. That’s envy. Envy, when it cannot have what it wants, destroys. That is why it is so dangerous.

The second reason it is so dangerous is that it thrives in community. In fact, you need community for envy to even be a possibility. Will WIllimon said, “Envy works best at close range.” This is true. We are often jealous of people distant from us, and envious of those closest to us. We may be jealous of Katy Perry and her fame, but we generally don’t want to destroy her or see her fail. In contrast to that, we sometimes do want our sister, brother-in-law, or neighbor to fail. This is why it’s so dangerous, because it wrecks community.

So much of the strife in our relationships is because we are envious. We are envioius of our brother who gets preferential treatment, so we want to see them slip up. We are envious of a co-worker who never gets reprimanded, so we hope for them to screw up. But what is at the root of envy? Well many church fathers said this: a lack of trust in God.

We get envious when we believe that God is withholding good from us. That we are being shortchanged by God. In essence, envy thrives when we disbelieve God’s goodness. And since this is so closely tied to envy we ended with a challenge. The challenge was this: for one week keep a journal of God’s goodness to you. If feeling envious is tied to a lack of trust in God’s goodness, then we need to create habits to remind us of the generosity, goodness, and grace of God.

So it’s a simple thing to do but it could be a life changing thing. Because whenever we get centred in the fact that God is good, we can live differently. We no longer need to be tied to envy and hurt, instead we can be set free. And that’s something worth finding.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Envy is a problem

Take Aways…

  • Envy is a subtle sin Jealousy wants things, envy wants to the be the only one who has things.
  • “Envy works best at close range” Will Wiilimon
  • Envy is about close relationships and it’s about enjoying when they fail.
  • While greed is primarily about possessions, envy is about one’s place in the world. Where greed wants the good things that others have, envy wants to be the only one who has good things. Envy delights in spoiling what others have. Michael Mangis
  • Envy leads to destruction every time.
  • At the root of envy is a lack of trust in God.
  • Envy is dissatisfaction with who God has made me to be. It is also suspicious that God is withholding what I deserve and giving it to someone else. Michael Mangis
  • Envy is a problem
  • Love overcomes envy.
  • Get rid of envy by getting closer to God.

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? Had you understood what envy was before today? How has envy wrecked relationships in your life? Is there anyone you tend to feel envious of? How can you grow closer to God this week? What good things has God done for you?

Discussion Questions / Actions for Young Families: Today talk to your kids about envy. Talk to them about how sometimes we want what other people have. But be proactive against envy, have them write out reasons why they are thankful to God. Have them make a picture, or share reasons for being thankful to God. The more they are rooted in that, the harder it will be for envy to take root.

Challenge for this Week: Get rid of envy by getting closer to God

Green Eyed Monster ~ Envy

envy_quotes_kelly_swansonOn Sunday we are looking at a really deadly sin. And by deadly I mean that literally. It kills relationships, poisons friendships, and breaks connections. It’s the sin of envy.

The thing with envy is that most of us don’t really know what it is. We think it’s somehow related to jealousy, but if we were to try to explain the difference between jealousy and envy most of us wouldn’t know where to start.

Soren Kiekegaard once called envy a small-town sin. He doesn’t mean it can’t happen in large cities; what he means is that it is something that thrives in community. In fact, you have to have community to even have this sin be a temptation. But it is something that is part of our churches, our families, our offices, and our neighborhoods.

Here is the thing: most of the strife in our relationships stem from envy. It’s true and that’s what we want to look at on Sunday: what envy is, and how we can live free from it.

Hope you can join us. And if you want to be extra prepared watch the movie Toy Story before Sunday, because we’re going to be using it lots. 🙂

You Can’t Have Multiple Best Friends

freindsA week or so ago my little boy was up very early…like way too early. He runs into our room, and says “Daddy wake up, wake up!”

And just as I was about to tell him to go back to bed he said, “I have a secret for you”

Now we often do this and I whisper secrets like, “I love you, you’re special, you’re a good boy” to him.

So he leaned over and said to me, “Daddy you’re my best friend.”

Pretty hard to be upset with him early in the morning after that right? And, in fact, this was a new one because I don’t tell Hudson that because – well we have two kids. So I don’t say “you’re my favorite, or best son”. But I loved every minute of him snuggling up with me saying, “You’re my best friend”

Then later on that morning as we’re about to leave, Hudson leans over to my wife and says, “Mommy you’re my best friend”. We go to my mom’s and he says to my mom, “Grandma you’re my best friend”

Apparently my son doesn’t get the idea of “best” because he has multiple best friends. But I got to thinking about it and wondered if honestly this isn’t a good thing. Hudson doesn’t feel like his friends need to be ranked, that one person’s affection diminishes another person’s, or that his relationships are in competition. Instead he sees something special in all of them and calls them his “best friend”.

I actually wonder if this little truth isn’t a lot like God. I wonder if God wouldn’t call each and every one of us, his personal best friend being fully invested in each relationship?

And the beautiful thing about it is that I’m happy that Hudson calls me, his mom, grandma and so many other people his best friend. I want him to have those strong relationships, and it doesn’t take anything away from my relationship with my little boy.

I wonder if we all couldn’t learn something from that. Rather than competing in relationships why not be grateful for them? Rather than ranking relationships why not simply rest in the relationships you have? So I’m trying to learn a little something from Hudson. That I now have multiple best friends: Hudson, Asher, Krista, and many more. What about you?