It is so important a sin it made the Ten Commandments. Right up there with take care not to throw your parents out of the house when they can no longer contribute physically. Yeah, that’s what “Honor your Father and Mother” actually means. See, in some cultures when you got old they sent you off into the hinterlands (that was someplace out of the village) and you lay down and died.
Do not envy that which your neighbor has (ok the commandment says ‘covet’ but society seldom uses that word these days.) Neither his wife, his slaves, his animals or anything that belongs to you neighbor. Don’t just keep you hands off them, don’t even think about putting your hands on them. It’s a pretty specific commandment. It’s the one Cain breaks when he envies Abel having his offering accepted by Yahweh. You know how that turned out for Abel. It’s the one Adam and Eve break with the fruit of the tree and the resulting curse on mankind. It’s the one David breaks when he sends Uriah into battle so David can have Bathsheba proving that even those anointed by Yahweh have the free will to screw up. It’s pretty much the commandment everyone breaks throughout history. They wanted something someone else had. They would start by complaining how it wasn’t fair that they didn’t have the same things and then they would begin devising plans to take what others had. Most times they simply used physical strength, or the threat thereof, to take that which their neighbor had. It was the old “Might makes Right” adage and it was, and is, true although these days guilt and pseudo-psychology have replaced the swords and bombs of previous generations.
If you look at today’s political environment and you strip away the rhetoric and emotion, what you’ll discover is the basis for all the trouble is envy. Now envy is not a logical device, rather it is an emotional expression driven by the desire to be better than others. Whether it is power, land, money, respect, love, it doesn’t matter, if you have it and they don’t, they want it or they at least don’t want you to have it. It is one of the basic human emotions tied to the need to be in charge and exert authority over others.
Unfortunately, envy is what our parents subtly use to encourage us to achieve, whether in acquiring consumer goods, education, jobs, or just our general positions in life. They don’t mean to, but it’s one of the tenants of human nature to want to outperform others. We’re told to become successes and the models for that success are the possessors of wealth, beautiful teeth, high paying jobs and gorgeous high performing grandchildren. Sometimes the models are people in a position of perceived power like the leader of a gang or a politician (pardon my redundancy) but they are always something we should strive to become and look like.
Capitalism is based on envy and Socialism is based on theoretically eliminating envy by creating a lower common denominator by having government distribute all things like respect, money, land, jobs, etc. That is for everyone except those in power and that creates classes within Socialism meaning it can never achieve that which it professes. Those who don’t have will want what those who do have possess. That’s envy pure and simple and that is what is causing all the problems in our society. I won’t go on giving examples because each and every one of you can describe ten examples if you will simply strip away that which surrounds the cacophony of “We want” chants. That’s why Envy made the top ten list of sins against God and man.