The green-eyed monster: what the Bible says about envy


In celebrating St Patrick's Day, millions of people around the world turned green, well, figuratively speaking, but celebrations of Ireland's patron saint aside, a certain green-eyed monster can creep up on us all year round. If you haven't guessed yet, I'm talking about envy. We know it's unproductive and unhealthy to feel resentment towards another person because of their possessions, qualities or lifestyle but this doesn't mean that we never do. Envy can damage our self-confidence, our relationships and even have a detrimental impact on our connection with God. It's easy to let envy take hold, especially in today's society when we are so often reminded of the things that we don't have. The following verses give an insight into God's thoughts about it and the negative consequences harbouring the emotion can have on our spirituality.

Exodus 20:17 - 'You shall not covet your neighbour's house. You shall not covet your neighbour's wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.'

Job 5:2 - Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.

Proverbs 3:31 - Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways.

Proverbs 14:30 - A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Ecclesiastes 4:4 - And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person's envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

1 Corinthians 13:4 - Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud.

Galatians 5:21 - And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Romans 13:13 - Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.

James 3:16 - For where you have envying selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.