In ancient Greece, there is a story of a very skillful athlete, Theagene. Since he brought great pride to the city, a monument was erected in his honor when he died. Theagene had a rival, Pausanias, who never won against him.
Pausanias would vandalize the monument every night. One night, while he was vandalizing and destroying the statue, Pausanias destroyed the foundation of the monument. It came crashing down on Pausanias which became the cause of his death.
Often in the Gospel, Jesus points out one of the most common realities and sins of humanity – Envy. We compare ourselves, our lives, our blessings, our situations with others, and if we realize others have more than what we have, we become ENVIOUS. After the Envy comes loneliness, followed by discontentment. Who wants to live such a life?
Hence, three things we remember when Envy creeps into our lives:
- Each person has his or her own Mission from God. Hence, God will bless that person according to how He feels he or she will be able to work out his or her vocation. In other words, if it is given, there is a purpose. If it is not given, there is a purpose, too.
- Other People’s Victory is not our Defeat. Why can’t we be happy for other people’s good fortune? On the other hand, why do we always find fault in them? I am sure we have all experienced this. We are invited to a house blessing, all the people are happy about the house until someone makes a comment: “Ganda nga ng bahay, hindi naman makabayad ng utang.” As Christians, we should rejoice in other people’s good fortune and empathize with their misery. After all, God is generous!
- Never make money or material things the gauge for happiness. Jesus once gave a parable about finding the pearl of great price. What is the pearl of great price? Someone once said that the two happiest days in a person’s life are the day you were born and the day you find your purpose in life. Here lies the secret of a truly happy life: when you find your purpose and use all your God-given blessings to serve others.
In closing let me share with you an anonymous quote: “We think that the grass is greener on the other side. But if we take time to water our own grass, it will also turn into green.”
That is why we ask for forgiveness for the times we were envious and counted other people’s blessings instead of being grateful for our own. Use it to bless humanity and for God’s greater glory.