What is envy? Envy is not merely lust or covetousness. Envy is actually the incestuous offspring of covetousness and murder. Envy is the sin that despises what has been given to others and concludes: If I cannot have it, then nobody should have it. Envy can rage with bitterness and resentment at the blessings of others. But envy can also be that slightly sad feeling you get at the success and achievements of others, and often, the success of particular others. Have you ever seen a picture of a happy family, an engagement announcement, a birth announcement, travel announcements, a new job announcement and felt a tinge of sadness? Maybe especially when it’s your roommate, your sister, your brother, your best friend, or those in your field of work who are a little (or lot) ahead of you? That sad feeling is the demon envy inviting you to be disappointed that it wasn’t you, inviting you to resent the gift God gave someone else.
And that sadness and resentment and disappointment is at its heart murderous. At its heart, envy hates what God has done. Envy hates the one God has blessed. And hatred need not be a full-blown, public temper tantrum. Envy is willing to start out as a small sadness, a simpering self-pity, coddled and protected in the name of you’ve-just-had-a-harder-life, things just don’t go that well for you, you’re just more unlucky, some Christians are just called to suffer. But those are the seeds of murder, whether they ever grow up into anything externally violent or not.
The Definition of Chalcedon actually speaks to our envy. Because at the root of our envy is a hatred of God, a hatred for what He does, a hatred for how He gives, for who He is. And that hatred fundamentally wants to be God instead of God. It wants God’s throne. But Chalcedon says that our nature cannot change into God’s nature. But that fallen nature, that cursed nature we inherited from Adam, that we have worn like a favorite old shirt, that nature is what God in Christ took on, yet without sin. Christ, as fully man, took on our nature so that as a man, He might take our envy to the cross, so that He might take our hatred, our murder, our bitterness, our resentment, our self-pity to the cross. So that He who knew no sin might become our sin for us, so that God might crush our sin in Him.