orothy Sayers once described
sin as a “deep interior dislocation of the human personality.” Sin makes us
out of joint deep within our soul. And just deleting sin from our vocabulary
will not get rid of this bad stuff or improving our education and graduating
more therapists will not heal this deep interior dislocation. I want us to
discover how Jesus Christ can put our joints back together and heal us deep
This morning I want
us to consider what has been called the “nastiest, the ugliest, the meanest”
of the seven deadly sins, the sin that no one confesses. If we’re red with
anger, purple with rage, then we’re green with ____. Green is a gorgeous
color, but when it’s your complexion, green people just aren’t real healthy.
Did you ever wonder
where the phrase “green with envy” comes from? Maybe it stands for dollar
bills that we all envy. Or emeralds. Or the green grass. Actually, this
phrase goes all the way back to BC times in Greece. Greeks speculated that
envy made the liver work overtime, producing excess bile and adding a slightly
greenish tint to one’s complexion. Envy convinces us that the grass is
greener on the other side.
Make no mistake.
Envy is not just a little white sin. It is deadly. The writer of Proverbs
says “a healthy heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the
bones. If we don’t confront envy it will consume us, it will rot our soul.
Envy is not just
looking over the fence at the greener grass, it is wanting to torch our
neighbor’s lawn if we can’t have just as green of grass as they. If envy were
to write a bestseller, it would be called The Revenge of Failure.
That’s why Frederick Buechner describes envy as “the consuming desire to have
everybody else as unsuccessful as we are.” Envy does not just want something
that someone else has; it despises others who have something they don’t have.
In fact, it rejoices when others do badly or make mistakes. The Pennsylvania
Dutch have their own word for envy. It’s Schadenfreude. Schadenfreude
is the malicious joy at someone else’s misfortune. Schadenfreude is secretly
smiling when the school prom queen shows up at the 25th reunion
with 60 extra pounds and her third husband.
Envy imprisons people so that they can’t
celebrate the healing stories of Tom Merroth and Phyllis Tursack that we heard
this morning. Why? Because envy insists that they should receive the same
treatment from God as Tom and Phyllis.
Amadeus is a good example of how dangerous envy is. Antonio Salieri
is the court musician to the King of Austria. . .