My selection this month for my book of the month is Seeing Green by Tilly Dillehay. The book is about envy, not the environment, as the subtitle indicates—“Don’t Let Envy Color Your Joy.” And this is quite a timely book.
The book is competently done, well-written, and it is aimed at a river sin that in our day has broached the levee and has inundated the countryside. In other words, this is a sin that is very common among us, affecting almost all of modern life, and Dillehay treats it as a sin, without any varnish at all.
She knows the Scriptures well, and applies them in a straightforward and unflinching way. She addresses the envy that desires to have the bodies of others, the intellects of others, the charm of others, the creativity of others, the competence of others, and more. She works down the line methodically and effectively.
This is a book of practical theology written by a woman, and while her examples tend to be feminine examples, this is a book that men can profit from as well. I believe that it provides a good scriptural balance as it honors Paul’s requirement on the one hand (1 Tim. 2:12), and the example of Priscilla on the other (Acts 18:26).
If you happen to be one of those fortunate few who are not beset with temptations to envy, this is still a book you can profit from. It might explain a good deal of the behavior around you that you tend to find opaque and mysterious. And you might also discover that you are not, as you thought, one of those fortunate few.
One caution. Throughout the book, she uses examples from her own experience and life which, given the nature of the sin, might cause the reader to sometimes feel like she is getting too much information (TMI). I wondered about that in going through the book, but in the acknowledgements at the back of the book, she fixes everything. She tells a hilarious story that reveals that she was very aware of the perpetual “overshare” temptation that evangelicals have, and it shows that she was in fact guarding against it. Keep that in mind and you will be less worried about all that.
This book is highly recommended.