“There is an old Russian fable, with different versions in other countries, about two poor peasants, Ivan and Boris. The only difference between them was that Boris had a goat and Ivan didn’t. One day, Ivan came upon a strange-looking lamp and, when he rubbed it, a genie appeared. She told him that she could grant him just one wish, but it could be anything in the world. Ivan said, ‘I want Boris’ goat to die.’ Variations on this story in other countries suggest that this tells us something about human beings, not just Russians.” (Thomas Sowell Reader, p. 129).
This attitude has been manifested through history. Solomon once heard a maternity case involving two women. These women were harlots. The shared the same house. They both had given birth to a child near the same time. One child died, due to the mother’s carelessness. Now, both women claimed to be the mother of the living child. Solomon said, “Bring me a sword… divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other” (1 Kings 3:24-25). The true mother said, “O my lord give her the living child, but by no means kill him!” (1 Kings 3:26). The woman who falsely claimed maternity said, “Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him” (1 Kings 3:26). She did not really want the child. She simply did not want the other woman to have a child. Solomon rendered his verdict. He said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; She is his mother” (1 Kings 3:27).
Envy is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). “Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). “If you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic” (James 3:14-15). We must rid ourselves of envy.
We should love and care about others. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). It should not make us feel bad when another has joy in his life.
Envy often is over material possessions. However, it should be remembered that those who are right with God are rich. “Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation” (James 1:9). “Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in the faith and heirs of the kingdom to those who love Him?” (James 2:5). “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:17-18 cf. Proverbs 24:19-20; Psalm 37; 73).