Greed, avarice and envy are all at the root of contradiction with the Tenth Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods” (Ex 20:17). With greed, there aren’t enough earthly goods to satisfy us. We’ll always want more. Remember the old line, “keeping up with the Joneses?” With greed, we must always have more, or better, than the Joneses. Avarice, on the other hand, is an inordinate desire to accumulate wealth. One can never have enough money. And then there’s envy; the inordinate desire to want what someone else has, simply because they have it and you do not. All three – greed, avarice and envy – try to fill holes that only God can fill. All three have at their root in the sin of pride.
Battling with Greed, Avarice and Envy
If we don’t have the latest gadgets, if we don’t have enough money, what will people think of us? Will they think less of us? Our pride drives us to garner the goods and the money, simply to “save face.” Yet ask yourself, if you were to see your neighbor, with an older car than you, would you really think less of him? If the answer is no, then why do you think that your neighbor would think less of you?
Overcoming Greed, Avarice and Envy
When we covet our neighbor’s goods, and violate the Tenth Commandment, we’re looking in all the wrong places! Rather than filling our homes with the latest technological gadgets, or increasing our bank accounts, perhaps we should try filling our hearts with peace, joy, love, and kindness. Rather than taking account of what our neighbor possesses, perhaps we should count our blessings and express our thanks to God. If we were to do these things, we could easily adhere to the Tenth Commandment.
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