#337 – Avengers Envy


Like the Hulk, I’ve turned green. While he turned green from rage and gamma radiation, I have turned green from envy.

This past weekend, in seemingly every other country but the one in which I live, The Avengers was released. The movie made almost $180 million around the world, breaking records in many foreign markets. And while I very much love the United States and feel blessed to live here, I can’t help but feel a little envious.

Envy is one of the ugliest emotions we experience.

In his book Enemies of the Heart, Andy Stanley describes envy in terms of debt. When it comes to envy we carry around the idea that God owes us. We see what everybody else has that we want and we think that God owes us.

I’m just as good as that person.

I do just as much as that person.

I deserve to see The Avengers as much as Malaysia.

When we allow envy to creep into our hearts it affects our vision. We see everything that we have and it’s suddenly not enough. We see everything that everyone else has and we think we deserve it. And since God is ultimately in control, he’s the one we blame for not having everything for which we envy. Envy then eats away at our hearts until we’re disappointed in what we have and angry over what we don’t.

Being green with envy is definitely more dangerous than being green like the Hulk.

If we want to avoid that danger, then we need to root envy out of our lives. Envy grows when we think we deserve more than we have. So digging out envy means recognizing that we’ve been blessed beyond what we deserve.

I don’t deserve the loving home in which I was raised.

I don’t deserve the beautiful wife to whom I’m married.

I don’t deserve the opportunity to work at an amazing church.

I don’t deserve the opportunity to enter back into a right relationship with God.

When we acknowledge all the undeserved blessings in our lives it’s a lot more difficult to focus on the apples of our envious eyes. When we look at everything God has given us it’s hard to blame him for everything he hasn’t.

We should strive to have the attitude of Paul who, in Philippians 4, wrote that he’d learned what it meant to be content in plenty and in want. Contentment covers envy and will keep us from Hulking out when we don’t get what we want.

What helps you stay content and keep envy at bay?


4 comments on “#337 – Avengers Envy”

  1. Sure, Scripture is okay and all, if you’re into that kind of thing. 😉 But I also remember the words of Spock from “Amok Time” – “You may find that having a thing is not so pleasant as wanting it. It is not logical but it is often true.”

    Or Snoopy’s deathless words from an old “Peanuts” strip: “The anticpation far outweighed the actual event.”

    I don’t actually think such will be the case here – it is a good movie, by all accounts. And, in all seriousness, this is yet another fine post. I especially like the “contentment keeps us from Hulking out” angle. It is true, God has given us so much that we don’t deserve – namely, everything!

    Are you familiar with the Jewish “Dayenu” song from the Passover Haggadah? It speaks to this idea of giving thanks for God’s unmerited grace: “Had God only rescued us from Egypt, it would have been enough. Had God only given us the Law, it would have been enough. Had God only led us to the Promised Land, it would have been enough…” etc. But God did all that and more, so that we Christians can sing,”Had God only become flesh and lived among us, it would have been enough. Had God only died to save us from our sins, it would have been enough. Had God only destroyed death in the resurrection of Christ, it would have been enough”…

    1. Thanks, Mike. That’s a beautiful song. We have been given so much, too much even. We really are blessed and focusing on those blessings is a good step toward contentment.

  2. Spock is wrong. Wanting what you can’t have is often quite unpleasant and it almost killed Spock in that episode.

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