The history of envy began with the ambition of a rebellious angel who said, “I will make myself like the Most High,” (Isaiah 14:14). The fallen angel then incited the suspicion of Eden, suggesting to the first humans, “You will be like God…” (Genesis 3:1-6). “Perhaps the Creator was keeping the goods to himself and depriving them of their full potential.”
Envy then appeared in the first human family as the motive to the first recorded act of homicide (Genesis 4). Cain, the first son of the first family was motivated by his envy of his younger brother, Abel.
Envy was the prelude in Cain’s heart that lead to an unimaginable act of homicide (fratricide), (see: Genesis 4). And to intensify the narrative of envy, according to Scripture, Cain “belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother” (I John 3:12).
Envy was also the motive behind the most vicious crime of history, the crucifixion of the Son of God. “The leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy” (Mark 15:10). Once again, the Evil one is behind this crime, for “the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus” (John 13:2).
Envy is a satanic trait. But it’s profoundly sobering and deeply disturbing to consider how envy feeds on the common sins of ingratitude and discontentment. Envy grows on a surveying spirit of resentment that carries the lethal potential of becoming bitter hatred toward the envied
Envy vandalizes joy and joyful community.
Someone suggested that envy is a venom whose anti-venom is hard to find. The only anti-venom powerful enough is love — which “…does not delight in evil” (I Cor. 13:5-6).
Envy (as it intensifies) targets its object to destroy it. An envious person doesn’t merely covet what another has; he resents him for having it. The envious person wants to see you fall; to see you lose; to see you suffer.
Envy is evil and vicious but it ultimately destroys the person who gives way to it. “Envy rots the bones, but a heart at peace gives life to the body” (Proverbs 14:30).
Envy fuels social cannibalism
Envy is a predatory motive behind behavior that can be found early in life. It has a bedfellow that the Germans call schadenfreude — a twisted and sadistic pleasure in the misfortune of others.
We see it in early form when siblings tattle on each other and find pleasure in seeing a brother or sister get in trouble. But don’t think the behavior is left to children. Adults are just as guilty — albeit in more disguised ways.
Envy and its evil cousin schadenfreude are universal evils found in every culture and class of people. They are often more prevalent among refined and ostensibly religious people. Be aware and warned of the lethal power in these evils.