And There Slain

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When envy has you by the throat, what can you do? It might appear to you in virulent forms, or it might seem almost invisible—camouflaged nicely to fit in with what you have come to call the principle of the thing. Envy is one of the hardest sins to admit, and it is one of the most widespread. So if you struggle with it, or you think you might be struggling with it, what do you do?

Standing opposite to the sin of envy is the grace of gratitude. Thanksgiving for all things, and particularly thanksgiving for the gifts that God has given to others, especially the others you are tempted to envy

But it is all very well to say gratitude is opposed to envy. How to feel grateful? Is there a magic switch somewhere? No, no magic switch, but there is a gospel. There is an answer. When Jesus died on the cross, the object of sinful envy and hatred, He was crucified in order to be the very death of envy—and He was.

This is the only salve for this wound. This is the only thing that a sinner can do about the perpetual craving to be somewhere else, to be someone else. When you look to Jesus Christ on the cross, you are someone else—I have been crucified with Christ, Paul says, and I no longer live. If you are going to be someone else, be—by faith—the someone who was flayed for sin. Through your baptism, see that you identity with the one on whom all the vain desires of men were placed, and there slain.

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6 years ago

Good stuff man. Really, you could take that whole piece as a sort of template and swap in and out various sins and use it in some sort of pamphlet on how folks could disciple each other in habitual repentance or even on sharing the gospel with non-believers: what it is and why it matters.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago

I have noticed in recent years a tendency to joke about feeling envious.
“I hate her–she’s going to Athens in February” or “The richest person I know just won the raffle for the car–I’m so envious I could spit.” I think there is a feeling that if we admit our envy and treat it lightly, it somehow doesn’t count. I wonder if it was morally healthier when envy was unspoken. You knew that it was a really despicable thing for you to be feeling.