Envy is to feel uneasiness, mortification or discontent, at the sight of superior excellence, reputation or happiness enjoyed by another; to repine at another’s prosperity; to fret or grieve one’s self at the real or supposed superiority of another, and to hate him on that account. To grudge; to withhold maliciously.Webster’s American Dictionary
  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.Oxford English Dictionary
  Synonyms for envy include jealousy, hatred, resentment, enviousness, covetousness; and to envy is to resent begrudge covet want desire crave.—Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“Envy reveals an ages old moral and ethical character flaw.”—Edna Lister

The modern definition of envy reveals a semantic drift from the original emphasis on its being a moral and ethical character flaw. Envy is a soul taint and a sin, which violates both a law of being and a law of doing. Envy is ingratitude for what you have, and leads to bitterness and hatred. To an envious soul, life’s glass is always half empty. Envy differs from jealousy in that it refers primarily to the outer trappings of life and its appearances, whereas jealousy focuses primarily on social relationships.

Edna Lister on Envy

Envy was the chief reason Jesus was crucified: Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.—Matthew 27:17-24.—Edna Lister, The Unknown God, December 1, 1935.

Daniel, cast into den of lions, turned his back on the shadows of fear, hate, malice, envy, deceit, avarice, jealousy, and doubt—then he faced the Light!—Edna Lister, The Windows of the Soul, March 17, 1937.

Pay no attention to the darkness others may spew in words. Which is best? To have the jealousy, criticism, envy and hatred lie dormant in their hearts, while the embodied souls continue in ignorance to feel great virtue and pride in their outer humility—or to have action that brings their darkness into view, so you can lift it and Light can heal them.—Edna Lister, September 28 1938.

You must be of tough fiber, but not hard, to conquer in this world of jealousy and envy. You will face enemies who would tear you to pieces if they could, but you must not notice it or you will not pass the tests.—Edna Lister, October 21, 1938.

You are entering a world of jealousy and envy, which you cannot change. Some will illegally and unlawfully try to get past your armor of love, which is impossible if it is pure love. You cannot change others, yet you can change yourself to be so filled with love that it changes all people, events, situations and experiences that touch you and adds them to your power of virtue. That is the meaning of The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.—Psalm 110:1.—Edna Lister, February 2, 1940.

You can lose your place in heaven if you persist in letting envy and jealousy rule you. Envy reveals an ages old moral and ethical character flaw. Do not let such taint your soul!—Edna Lister, January 31, 1940.

The initially easier road is the crushing of spirit, the opening to the influx of the world mind, and the seven great sins of lust, passion, greed, malice, hatred, indifference, and envy.—Edna Lister, August 4, 1940.

When the Elect digest and truly assimilate all we’ve been given, when we truly are the embodiment of the Life of the Christ, then and then only, will our Lights SO shine that the world will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. Our work, individually and as a group, must remain unpolluted by gossip, envy or incitement to envy, jealousy or criticism. Lift the effects caused by any of the above-mentioned soul taints.—Edna Lister, May 7, 1941.

From the single root of hatred may grow revenge, anger, jealousy, envy, and deceit. A revenge motive is the root of self-pity, rebellion, resentment, frustration and pride. From anger grows irritation, impatience, and retaliation. Deceit breeds lies, treachery and subterfuge. Jealousy breeds grief, hurts, and sorrows. Envy produces escape complexes in varying degrees and kinds, the mildest of which is avoiding responsibility, being greedy, and gossiping, all of which are pretenses hiding your own limitations and adulterated vibration. Envy is wanting something for nothing.—Edna Lister, August 1, 1945.

“Envy is wanting something for nothing.”—Edna Lister

Those souls who heavy soul debts often feel quite envious of those who are relatively debt-free. They don’t know why they feel that way, just that somehow the other fellow has some advantage they should have. Lift them to a cloud continent of Light and declare that their way is clear to pay their own debts to law., April 11, 1949.

Selfish love thinks only of self and its relationships. It grows a garden of opinions and prejudices, the little bloomers of self-pity, and weeds of envy, resentment, jealousy, hatred, and anger. Like nettles, they sting and will take over a healthy garden.—Edna Lister, The Living Chalice, December 7, 1952.

When you begrudge praise for one who is eager, or even half-hearted about his enthusiasm, you reveal your jealousy, envy, covetousness, hard-heartedness and stinginess of soul. Ignore others’ envy and criticism. Share Light, love, and joy.—Edna Lister, Now Is the High Time, December 6, 1953.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.—Matthew 5:8. An impure heart has something other than God’s laws written on it. It may entertain deceitful thoughts, envy, jealousy, covetous emotions, or may forcefully manipulate others.—Edna Lister, Jesus, the Scientist, October 31, 1954.

Darkness is always working to create confusion, jealousy, and greed among the Elect. You may legally turn their efforts to them by declaring, "Let the machinations of the evil ones turn to rend them, and to create among them the confusion, jealousy and greed they sow in the world."—Edna Lister, December 6, 1954.

By their works you shall know them refers to a soul’s qualities. Some possess only pride, envy, jealousy, and self-righteousness, which always compare self to the detriment of another.—Edna Lister, Your Treasures, January 15, 1956.

The roots of envy grow when you blame someone else for doing what you should have done when you were called.—Edna Lister, Let Me Keep Lent, February 12, 1956.

If you ignore the offense, the chronic offender is frustrated. He can see and feel how his jealousy, envy and sharp words affected you, his quarry, in the past, but it spoils his game when you do not cringe or wriggle.—Edna Lister, The Beatitudes Are Be-Attitudes, February 12, 1956.

[Love] charity envieth not.—1 Corinthians 13:4, but desires 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 passage reveals the seed of envy. Tilling the ground is symbolic of materialism. Earth represents the physical, and the sheep represent spiritual qualities. If you do not agree and adjust your attitudes and expressions in thought, word, and deed to the law, the sin will be at your door. Cain’s real sin was his failure to reach up, beyond the world, for the kingdom of heaven.—Edna Lister, July 10, 1958.

When you give in to greed, criticism, envy, rebellion, anger, etc. you can attract a possessing demonic entity.—Edna Lister, January 7, 1960.

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

Anger, envy, a revenge motive, constant irritation, criticism, and condemnation are the fertile breeding grounds of physical cancer.—Edna Lister, June 27, 1960.

A point comes in the life of a leader or an organization when the Power that is released through it is enough to stir it into great action and cause untold offenses everywhere, because the work is spreading, and naturally overlapping situations and people. At this point many people involved have their feelings hurt or get discouraged and quit, allowing the organization to die. Had the leader encouraged them to lift the offenses, which are usually inadvertent and unconscious, as they had occurred, they could well have stirred the others to their depths to hold and become greater individual instruments of Power, thereby increasing the power of their organization. A time comes when the Power is increased in quality and quantity until it absorbs all darkness of offenses, including envy, jealousy, and fears that they or another will lose position, place and power—then the organization achieves the vision of service with which it was started.—Edna Lister, May 12, 1962.

The gall bladder metaphysically represents venom, revenge, and envy.—Edna Lister, November 13, 1964.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.—Matthew 5:10. Jesus told us, “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!”—Luke 17:1. People persecute others because they feel envy and jealousy. The Master tells us plainly that this is inevitable.
  The keynote of this beatitude is choice. Has my kingdom improved? To assess this, I must stand off a few paces and look at myself. What kind of person am I? Do I display entrenched habit patterns? Do I raise my eyebrows, or shrug my shoulders when persecuted, to show my contempt for it? Or do I lift it to a cloud continent of Light, declaring it good and ignoring it?—Edna Lister, Following Your Path of Destiny, December 4, 1966.

Top ↑

New Testament on Envy

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

Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.—Romans 13:11-14.

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.—Galatians 5:25-26.

Top ↑

Old Testament on Envy

Envy not thou the oppressor.—Proverbs 3:31.

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.

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.

Top ↑

Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

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


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

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, ed. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988.

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Webster, Noah. "Envy," Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language. New York: S. Converse, 1828. This work is in the public domain.

Related Topics