CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

March 11, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Envy #1: Envy or Love


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

LENTEN STUDY: 7 DEADLY SINS

ENVY #1: ENVY OR LOVE

MONTE W. HOLLAND

INTRODUCTION

     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites.

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS:

GREED, ENVY, ANGER, LUST, GLUTTONY, SLOTH and PRIDE.

THE ASPECTS OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS ARE:

#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)

 

ENVY #1:

ENVY OR LOVE

SCRIPTURE:  43You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.”  44But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. 45Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. 46If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for this? Even tax collectors love their friends. 47 If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about this? Don’t even unbelievers do that? (Matthew 5:43-47)

DEVOTION:  Envy is defined as a feeling of resentment or discontent over another’s superior attainments, endowments, or possessions; a desire to possess the goods of others.

     Part of this definition sounds eerily like greed, yesterday’s focus.

     For today, let’s look at the first part—resentment or discontent over another’s superior attainments, endowments, or possessions. I really connect with that feeling of resentment and discontent with my neighbor. Don’t we all?

     Did I ever think as a pastor: Why did he or she get that pastoral appointment instead of me? Am I not more qualified?

     Did I ever think as a college professor: Why did that person get a promotion and I didn’t? or Why have I been assigned this horrible teaching assignment instead of my colleague?

     Notice that all of this thinking gives no space for God’s perspective. God is most qualified to determine the best use of our resources. God would have us celebrate re-assignments and changes in our lives as opportunities and not as undue preference for another person.

     Our Scripture rightly puts the focus on love. Envy is overcome when we learn to celebrate the good that happens, even for those that we often are envious of.

     True love, first of God and God’s dominion in our lives, and then of all our neighbors, opens us to living life to the fullest, and to anticipating that God will bring something new and good each day for ourselves and our neighbors.

     Where will envy find a place to take root in that kind of world?

PRAYER: God of all, give us hearts to celebrate change and new opportunity. Give us especially the willingness and ability to celebrate your good works in the lives of others. Amen. 

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To start at the beginning of this Lenten study on the Seven Deadly Sins, click on:

To read the previous devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Greed #1: Greed or Generosity

To read the following devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Anger #1: Brotherly Anger

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ADDITIONAL READING:

Chemicals Injure Children in Child Care Facilities: Abuse or Accident?

A Different Face of Homelessness

The Rev. Manasseh Cutler Visits Peale’s Museum in Philadelphia

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