Envy, a Soul Taint

Envy is "a feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another." To envy is "to feel displeasure and ill will at another's happiness, success, reputation, or the possession of anything desirable, to wish oneself on a level with another in happiness or in the possession of something desirable, to wish to possess something that another has."

Envy is a soul taint and a sin. Envy is ingratitude for what you have; it leads to bitterness and hatred. To an envious soul, life's glass is always half empty.

Edna Lister's Sermons on Envy
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Edna Lister on Envy

You must be of tough fiber to conquer in this world of jealousy and envy. You will face enemies who would tear you to pieces, and you must not notice it or you will not pass the tests. You cannot change others, yet you can change yourself and be so filled with love that love changes all things that touch you and adds them to your power. That is what The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. ~ Psalm 110:1 means. ~ Edna Lister, October 21, 1938.

Envy produces escape complexes, the mildest of which is avoiding responsibility, greed, gossip, which is a cover-up of your own limitations and adulterated vibration. ~ Edna Lister, August 1, 1945.

When you are begrudging with praise for one who is eager, or half-hearted about his enthusiasm, you reveal your jealousy, envy, covetousness, hard-heartedness and stinginess of soul. ~ Edna Lister, Now Is the High Time, December 6, 1953.

[Love] charity envieth not. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4, but wants only its own. ~ Edna Lister, As the World Sees Me, June 22, 1958.

Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. ~ Genesis 4:2-7.

Sin lies at the door if you do not live up to the law. This was the seed of envy. Tilling the ground was symbolic of materialism. Earth represents the physical, and the sheep were spiritual qualities. If you do not agree and adjust to the law, the sin will be at your door. Cain's real sin was failure to reach up for the kingdom of heaven. ~ Edna Lister, July 10, 1958.

Complexes are born of self-pity arising from envy, jealousy or the desire to possess. ~ Edna Lister, What Is Healing? May 17, 1960.

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New Testament on Envy

[Love] charity envieth not. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4.

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. ~ Galatians 5:25-26.

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Old Testament on Envy

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. ~ Proverbs 14:30.

Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy? ~ Proverbs 27:4.

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Envy in Other Sacred Writings

Envy and wrath shorten the life, and carefulness brings age before the time. ~ Wisdom of Ben Sirach 30:24.

Having filled the deficiency, the Father abolished the form of the world, for the place where there is envy and strife is deficient, but the place where (there is) Unity is perfect. Since the deficiency came into being because the Father was not known, therefore, when the Father is known, from that moment on, the deficiency will no longer exist. ~ The Gospel of Truth, Codex I, 3 and XII, 2.

They do not go down to Hades, nor have they envy nor groaning nor death within them, but (rather) they rest in Him who is at rest, not striving nor being twisted around the truth. But they themselves are the truth; and the Father is within them, and they are in the Father, being perfect, being undivided in the truly good one, being in no way deficient in anything, but they are set at rest, refreshed in the Spirit. ~ The Gospel of Truth, Codex I, 3 and XII, 2.

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 –1971
The original Pioneering Mystic
minister, teacher, and author

Edna Lister

Etymology of envy: Latin invidia "envy, jealousy," from invidus "envious," from invidere "envy," earlier "look at (with malice), cast an evil eye upon."

Envy is a soul taint.

Envy is a sin.


Hatred is active displeasure, envy passive. We need not wonder why envy turns so soon to hatred. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections, maxim 130


Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe. T. Bailey Saunders, translator. New York: Macmillan and Co., 1906, 87.

The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, editor. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1981.

Related Topics

See Coveting

See Jealousy

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