At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
A sound heart is the life of the flesh: But envy the rottenness of the bones.Proverbs 14:30
Sin is objectively wrong, of course, and puts the sinner at odds with the way God made the world. But Scripture also points to the ways in which sin creates a good deal of mayhem within the soul. That is the case here, with this proverb.
Envy looks out at the blessings that have been granted to another, and feels personally wronged by it. That wrong gets registered within. This proverb says that it eats away at the bones of the one who is envious. The opposite of this, in this place, is called “a sound heart.” The sound heart looks out at the blessings that have been given to others, and rejoices in those blessings. Someone else is smarter, stronger, richer, better looking, and isn’t life grand?
A person who lives this way is nourishing himself. The blessings of others, rejoiced in, becomes a blessing to the one who rejoices. The blessings of others, when snarled at, are turned into a corruption for the person who snarls.
In our day, we need to be particularly wary of this sin. Envy is obviously a perennial sin, and has always been with us. But in our generation, we have fallen under the woe pronounced by Isaiah. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; That put darkness for light, and light for darkness; That put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Every generation has contained envious people, but we are a people who have tried to sanctify that envy, proclaiming it a virtue. We call it a “passion for justice,” or “social justice,” or the “crusade against inequality.”
But that is just it. Inequality is not injustice. It only seems that way to the envious.