Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #112 ---Envy

Quotations on Envy (Set No. 2)

Envy longs to reach rewards without using the ladder of sacrifice.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., March 1, 1927.


Envy is veiled acknowledgment of superiority.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., March 24, 1927.


Envy is a robber who tickles you under your chin while he pilfers your pockets.

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, Aug. 2, 1922.


The spirit of envy and the spirit of peace cannot exist in the same soul at the same time.

—Roy L. Smith , Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., Sept. 17, 1942.


By entertaining envy we are offering hospitality to every other woe.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., March 23, 1931.


Envy is only perverted ambition, usually with the industry left out.

Envy is one of the first indications of a small soul.

Envy is a short cut to all unhappiness.

Envy is an infection that will ruin any joy.

Envy always works the greatest injury on the one who envies.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Aug. 20, 1931.


A sure method for being miserable is to be envious.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., July 23, 1935.


Envy tortures the soul of the envious man and touches not the envied.

—H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, Nov. 28, 1927.


Envy is egotism with its feathers up.

—Nephi Jensen, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 14, 1928.


Envy is in its worst form when it makes otherwise good men jealous of another's gifts, ... envious of the God-given gifts to others. ...

One of Envy's most bitter enemies is Humility. Envy melts away before humility's rays of glorious light, like snow before the burning rays of a desert sun. Envy cannot stand before the sweet temper, the gentle smile, the heart glow of an humble man. Man's humility will disperse envy like dawn disperses the dark.

The man who conquers envy will conquer other like enemies. Any man who can control this monster will truly be greater than him who takes a city. When envy is conquered, selfish ambition must flee, jealousy will fade away and hate go slinking off in defeat.

—Chester Watt, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, April 27, 1939.


Envy is an ill-tempered vice made up of meanness and malice. It laments over the prosperity of others, feasts on scandal, and rejoices in the mistakes of virtue.

Envy is the daughter of pride, the companion of murderers, and the consort of the peddlers of crime. ...

There is no surer mark of the absence of the highest moral and intellectual qualities than a cold reception of excellence, and a jealous attitude toward superior accomplishments.

If you have bitter envies--you have an eye malady that will destroy all moral good, and cause an inner fever of discontent and unhappiness.

If you have bitter envies--you have an eye malady that causes you to see double when evaluating your own worth, but blinds you to the worthy deeds of others.

If you have bitter envies--you have an open sewer flowing through the garden of your soul, polluting and blighting every noble aspiration.

If you have bitter envies--you have a den of foul serpents that coil and hiss and sting to the death of high ideals.

If you have bitter envies in your heart--your life will be filled with frustration and fear. You will not be content with your simple blessings, and your whole personality will be filled with war and confusion.

—Oliver G. Wilson, The Wesleyan Methodist, Syracuse, N.Y., Feb. 18, 1956.


Too many people in this world seem ever to have an instinct for unpleasant things, and to be ever hunting for them in others. They never see the good qualities in people, but they instantly detect the faults. They never see the lovely and beautiful, but always find the ugly and disagreeable. They have no eye for roses, but they are sure to prick themselves with the smallest thorns. The fragrance of lilacs and honeysuckle, the scent of the wild crab apple and the new mown hay never reach them; but they are sure to smell the foul pond, the pig pen and the garbage can.

You can find the sweetness or foulness in the air. It depends altogether upon which you are looking for. It is a far nobler thing for you to find the lowly, the true, the beautiful and good in those about you than to single out their faults, defects and blemishes.

It shows a narrow, jealous and envious spirit to find nothing but faults in those who work by our side and live in the same street and are members of the same church. This envious, faultfinding spirit fails to find the true and good because it is not looking for it. Let us do away with suspicions and faultfinding. Nothing will so easily and effectively kill our city, our churches, our papers, our institutions as the eternal grumbling, criticizing, knocking and faultfinding. ...

If we cannot say good of others, let us not say anything. If we cannot build up, let us not tear down. If you cannot help your city, don't hurt it. What good is to come of picking the petals off the rose if you cannot place them back or put something better on the stem? Will finding fault with a brother help him carry his load, place him or you any nearer the gates of heaven.

We need to be less harsh and critical, and to be more gentle, and sympathetic, and kind and forgiving. The scripture saith: "Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." A brother, bearing his load on the right road of life, does not need to be jostled and told of his mistakes; he needs your help and encouragement. When a poor brother goes down, he does not need you to stand over him in triumph; he wants your outstretched hand in help. [Others] do not need your criticisms and unkind remarks; they need a gracious smile and a word of cheer.

—Cephas Shelburne, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Dec. 11, 1911.


“The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy.” (James 4:5.) Never were spoken truer words. Every day’s experience proves that one of the most difficult tasks pertaining to self-government is to keep the heart free from envious feelings. Let a man’s acquaintance, neighbor, or even friend, gain an advantage, a favor, a blessing, and straightway feelings of envy strive to effect an entrance into that man’s bosom. He wonders why he has not been favored, if not instead of, at least as well as his fellow; why another than himself should have been chosen, he cannot comprehend. And unless a determined stand is promptly made against these feelings, their results are none of the most pleasant. And men who otherwise are very good, find it a most difficult matter to maintain a tranquil mind under such circumstances. ...

Envy undermines the foundation of every good feeling, and destroy ... harmony and ... unity. ... Grumblers destroy confidence, and when confidence is destroyed, unity of effort ceases in a corresponding degree, and thus the evil grows deeper and wider. It will not be outside of the truth to say that the influence of one grumbler is calculated to do ten times more injury than is the error in judgment, granting there is one, that is the excuse for grumbling.

Instead of envying a brother, or indulging in detraction at his expense, it would be far more noble to seek his good, to congratulate him in success, and condole with him in failure. Such a course would be ten thousand times better than giving way to feelings of envy, and consequence coldness and distrust. These things should be guarded against with all diligence. Our brother’s prospects and welfare should be dear to us, and we should be careful not to do anything to mar them, and should at all times resist any feelings of envy that may arise in our bosoms, for “Who can stand before envy?” When we see a spirit of this kind, we should immediately put it under our feet.

When the prosperity of a brother causes envy to arise in the bosom, it will be well for him to examine himself, and bring his mind to cheerfully submit to immediate corresponding adversity, should it come. If he can do this, he will not be in so much danger from envy. But if his envious feelings are not removed by this course, he may seek to do some positive good to his prosperous brother, and be determined to speak good of him, and so continue in well doing, until good thoughts, good actions and good feelings gain the victory.

—John Jacques, Millennial Star, Liverpool, England, March 4, 1854.


We all know how envy, jealousy and selfishness destroy our peace and happiness. They play, indeed, an important part in the lives of many people. There are those who can scarcely endure the good fortune of others; and they hear the praise of their fellowmen with feelings of jealousy and disbelief. The best refuge from such evil conditions is found in the broader and sympathetic love which goes out to our fellowmen and makes us rejoice in their good fortunes and successes in life. Evil is thus overcome by the presence of good, and the good is make to take the place of the evil that would otherwise fill men’s souls. I would comment to you the joy and satisfaction that comes from bestowing your thoughts, feelings and attentions upon others; and the habit of planning in your own minds the welfare and happiness of others. By so doing, you repress your own selfish natures and bring yourself in subjection to the higher law. No man and no woman can lead a selfish life and be happy. If your acquisitions in life make you selfish, they accomplish a purpose truly opposite from that which was intended. Selfish man in time lose their sense of appreciation and they are unable to enjoy the simplest of God’s favors. It is not what you get in life so much as it is what you are able to enjoy. The devil can help you get, but the power to enjoy is the special gift of heaven. “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

—Francis M. Lyman, Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 5, 1909.


When we envy the lot of another, we see only one side of the coin. It's impossible to look on both sides of a penny at the same time. ... Many times there are costs of greatness which are unseen. Often we are unaware of personal heartbreaks which are hidden from the eyes of a prying public.

Admiring and perhaps envying the lot of another is like shopping in an exclusive store. We see many things that are pleasing to our eyes--but when we examine the price tags, our desire for these things flees.

If a fairy could appear and touch us with her magic wand, transforming us into the person of our choice, we wonder if it would make for a happier life. We wonder if such a phenomenon would solve all our problems, bring an end to our anxieties and wants.

We think not.

We believe that we would continue to be a generation of discontents. After we saw both sides of the coin, we would beg to be returned to the station in life where an all-wise God placed us.

The secret of happiness lies not in what appears to be a trouble-free life, a life without worries and anxieties. It lies in having that heaven-sent ability to accept everything that God has given us.

—H.M. Baggarly, Tulia Herald, Tulia, Texas, Feb. 2, 1961.


This devotional is called: "Defeating Worldly Lies."

Wouldn't it be amazing if all advertisements were true? We all love to be admired because we drive the best car, cure damaged hair with the right shampoo and jump like an NBA superstar because we drink a particular soft drink. But, alas! Not all advertisements are true. In a childlike way, we want to believe them. But if we do, we're headed for disappointment. Most of us seldom test the validity of the messages swirling around us, and the more we listen and believe, the more needless, emotional misery we create for ourselves.

Let us examine the most widespread and dangerous of the worldly lie. It is called "You Can Have It All." A husband and wife who had been married for 16 years were having marital problems. It was starting to unravel like a ball of twine. The wife chose to stay at home and be a full-time mother to their three children. She began to feel less and less fulfilled, sensing there was more out there in life. She began to spend more and more time away from home. "I feel smothered here at the house," she announced to her husband, "so I want a divorce. I just know that I can find what I have been missing in my life. I've done the wife thing. I've done the mom thing. Now I want the rest of life. I want to have it all."

Like many people, this person is moving from one lifestyle to another in a vain attempt to have it all. The saddest part of this story is most folks don't find what they are looking for. It's a myth, a lie. You can't have it all. Do you struggle with this in your life? Do you entertain secret thoughts of having it all? Linked with this desire is: "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." This type of thinking is wrong. We may become envious of another person's situation. For instance, a woman who works at home may envy a woman who works outside the home, and vice versa. A person who works in a large corporation may envy a person who is self-employed, and vice versa. Some single people may envy the companionship of married couples, as some married people envy the freedom of single people. The list can go on and on. Take some time to exist some areas where envy may exist in your life. Where do you think you learned that kind of thinking? For instance, from parents, advertisements, teachers, siblings, friends, yes, even church. We need to consider the built-in problems that go along with this lie, "you can have it all."

The pursuit of having it all leads to some tough issues. What problems result from trying to have it all? Listen to the following list of statements. Then determine whether you agree or disagree with these statements.

1. There is guaranteed failure.

2. The greater the gain, the greater the desire to gain more becomes.

3. Gratitude for God's blessings is replaced by a lack of appreciation.

4. Happiness becomes dependent upon things and obtaining more of them.

I've never really met a person who had it all. Never! Think of that. Someone who you think has it all, and you scratch the surface of that someone's life, you will find a life of painful gaps. The best case study for this lie is found in the Old Testament. According to the Biblical record, King Solomon was the wealthiest and wisest man on earth during his lifetime. Do you think he had it all? Listen to his words. "Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Nothing was gained under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 2:11.) If you can't have it all, what should you believe? How do you replace this lie with the truth?

The truth can be summarized in one key statement--contentment. This is found in God's word, not things. Check out these scriptures:

"But if we have food and clothing we will be content with that." (1 Timothy 6:8.)

"Be content with what you have; because God has said, Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5.)

Take a few minutes. Let that truth sink in. Having it all is a lie, an impossible, unhealthy dream that cheapens the rest of life, making us live for the future instead of enjoying the present. Very few of us are immune to it, but all of us have the choice whether to live by it. If having it all is an issue for your life, if you use the living word of truth, the Bible, to bring you to a healthy conclusion, you will be much, much happier. The word of God says in Matthew 6:31-34:

"Therefore do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, What shall we wear? "For after all these things the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

"But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

I am not telling you to forget about the future. I am telling you to do what God says–to live day by day.

—Floyd Yates, Emmanuel Baptist Church Devotional, Leesville, La., June 11, 1995.


Envy is the cause of those dislikes sometimes felt when one doesn't know why he hates another; those small, indefinable, petty hates which, without self-examination, he is unable to account for. Close introspection soon discovers this fact. It causes that sudden pang of jealousy its possessor feels when listening to words of commendation for another. Envy engenders hate, which is the deadliest, most destructive, most blightening of all the passions, and hate has no source upon which it can draw for unlimited supply except envy. It promotes discontent as nothing else can: it fosters jealousy and begets bigotry; it is productive of sneers and disdainful mannerisms; it suggests the commission of contemptible little deeds--meanness. It rejoices in the downfall of those in high places because it does not occupy them. It chuckles and gloats over the misfortunes of its rivals and wallows in the mire and filthy of unholy satisfaction. Hate is envy's chief product.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Dec. 10, 1911.


You may not believe it, but some of those people you are envying so much have troubles that are harder to bear than your own.

Farm Journal, Philadelphia, Pa., June 1919.


Envy is a poor weapon; when it is discharged it always kicks harder than it shoots.

Golden Age, Livingston, Tenn., March 17, 1920.


The man who is envious of others is usually bankrupt in heart.

The Harlequin, New Orleans, La., Feb. 14, 1901.


Envy is admiration turned sour.

Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho, Aug. 20, 1907.


He who does not envy his neighbor's happiness will surely not be glad of his misfortune. So, if we feel no envy and grudge no good, we shall be able to rejoice with others over their joys, and to grieve with them over their sorrows.

Lake Charles American-Press, Lake Charles, La., June 18, 1924.


Don't enter life's race with the unnecessary handicap of envy.

Louisville Herald, Louisville, Ky., March 7, 1907.


One of the most important and most useful of Commandments is "Thou shalt not envy thy neighbor." Envy is a poison that makes worthless everything we have, and everything we might have, while we envy that which is never to be ours.

Millions live in envy, miserably unhappy, that might live contented, useful, satisfactory lives if they would turn their mind toward contemplation of what they have, and value life's treasures at their proper value. A good name and the respect of others are worth more than mere money.

Cheerfulness and good health are worth more than all the money in the world, when ill health and anxiety go with the money.

There is no real happiness outside of contentment. And that demands, first, an approving conscience; second, health and cheerfulness to make life worthwhile.

New York American, New York, N.Y., Dec. 4, 1927.


To envy men have sacrificed independence, spending what they could not afford in emulation of others. They have sacrificed mental rest and spiritual calm. The envious soul is never at peace with itself or with the world. ...

On the altar of envy men have sacrificed friendship, opportunity and success.

While envying others they have missed the opportunity to do something worthy. ...

Envy must not be confounded with ambition, the emotion that should inspire men to do better, be better, and improve his place and his possession in the world.

Envy stands for mean impotence.

Ambition represents noble striving. ...

Envy causes hatred for the person envied, envy and hatred combined produce furious anger.

New York American, New York, N.Y., Aug. 19, 1928.

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