W. W. Otey on Envy

We envy those who have surpassed us in attaining the things we covet most. Such may be fine clothes, more costly cars, or more expensive houses than we can afford. As strange as it may seem, we may envy others because they have attained a greater measure of moral and spiritual worth. We see this evil in the church of the Lord. And saddest of all, it is seen among preachers and writers. This frank admission may surprise many. We preach on the sins of envy and jealousy. But we are prone to regard our work as the proverbial doctor whose prescription is only for the patient - he himself is in perfect health. It has long been my opinion that jealousy and envy have caused as much harm to the cause of Christ as any other sin. These evils were among the apostles while the Lord was still with them. The early church was not free from it. The ambition to have the highest places in the esteem of the brethren, as the "biggest preacher," "the greatest writer," or the "leading editor," whose paper has the "largest circulation," is evident in the church today. When someone offers a word of praise for a preacher or writer, we sometimes say, "Yes, but. . . ." Let it be said here with strong emphasis that the sin of no one should ever be "hushed up" and condoned, it matters not how high the sinner is thought to stand. I have often heard church members say: "O don't mention it. To do so will hurt the church." When sins are "hushed up", and condoned, we sin. Immoral conduct, in preachers and other leading members should be reproved sharply. Let all know that the church must be as clean as it is possible to keep it. Great harm to the name of Christ and the church has been caused by the few unworthy men who pose as preachers of the gospel.

Let it be said that no one has ever climbed higher on the ladder of moral and spiritual excellence by pulling some one down to stand on. Worthy heights are attained only by unselfishly helping others reach higher levels. Rapid progress in the Christian race is made, not by hindering or striving to outrun others in that race, but by taking hold of the weak members, and helping them to hasten their pace. (W. W. Otey, in The Tree of Life Lost And Regained, page 56).

January 28, 1971