30 A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.
31 Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,
but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
32 When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down,
but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God.
While lust and gluttony promise pleasure, sloth promises leisure, pride and anger offer self-importance and greed offers independence – envy seeks the destruction of others. There are traces of hatred in every sin, but with envy it takes the lead. Envy is a subtle thing, masking itself as concern for justice and equality, and yet it “rots the bones” – slowly corroding health and happiness. Underneath all the fantasies and criticism, irritation and discontent lies a single assumption: God owes me. Yet he has already given himself, that you may “be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”
“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Just as envy is based on an assumption, conscious or not, about God – the oppressor assumes he will not be held accountable for what he does. He may show his contempt directly in denying God’s existence, or indirectly in behaving as a law unto himself – but either way his path is certain. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” On the other hand kindness begets kindness, perpetuates gratitude, and honors God – any one of which itself is reason enough to behave kindly.
“When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God.” There are many things which compete for our trust, we think “if I only have this, everything will be okay.” Yet there is only one which is invulnerable to the storms and disasters of this life – and that is the Lord himself. “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”