The guy working in the office envies the man working outside. The man outside envies the one in the office. We buy the magazines filled with the stories of celebrities and we envy the way they can live. We never think that they may envy the way we can walk down the streets without anyone bothering us.
Envy is a ubiquitous emotion which makes us think that others have life better than us. It separates us. It makes us approve of class distinctions. Let's tax the rich because they have it. Let's take it away from those who have made it. Let's attack the person who is of a different color or has a foreign accent or is too beautiful for the rest of the world.
Have you ever thought that one of the emotions that motivated the religious leaders to kill Jesus was envy? He had something they didn't. He was charismatic with His love and care. He was humble and drew people around Himself. He was powerful without throwing burdens on the backs of those who followed Him. Could their envy make His crucifixion seem justified?
Politicians have always used envy to rally people around them. Jesus did none of that.
Love has no envy. It rejoices in the welfare of others. It praises those who have accomplished great deeds. It admires people. Love lifts the lover and the one being loved. It simply rejoices in the other person's good fortune. Both the lover and the loved are better because of it.
Love is absent when envy is present. Envy is absent when love is present. Love brings us together.
The world runs to help in a tragedy. They can because those who are affected have nothing to envy. Everyone talks about the love that is present. They enjoy this feeling which will not last because they will return to their world of envying the person next door.
Envy may be the source of much of our judgment of each other. We disdain the person with the big SUV because he cares nothing about the environment, right? Maybe it has nothing to do with that. Maybe it's just envy that he can afford to pay for the gas that goes in that thing.
Love . . . it just doesn't envy.
1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.