Envy can wield much power over us, but often do we all have the courage to recognise its danger in full honesty?
Envy is a passion that we often conceal to the extent that we may not be aware of it ourselves.
We like to express our righteous anger at bribe-takers and other corrupt officials (which, of course, are unacceptable behaviours). But is our sense of justice our only motive?
Yet, we know from experience that even the most determined fighters with corruption tend to become even more corrupt than their predecessors when they come to power. So, the true motive for the anger against dishonest civil servants may be our false sense of justice, the frustration that they are having all the benefits, but not us. These are genuine manifestations of envy and greed.
Let us ask ourselves in all honesty: would we have the strength to resist the temptation to use our position of authority to our benefit, to bring our relatives to high positions? To justify such actions, some might say, “How am I less worthy than everybody else?” Or, “Why are they allowed to do it, but not me?” Some may even promise themselves, “I will use my position to my material advantage this time, but I will give this money away for charity some time”.
But let us be honest – corruption, bribe-taking, or appropriation of public assets do not happen somewhere on another planet. They begin in our hearts and minds; they flourish within us and come out to the surface as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
Legitimate demands for justice may mask our envy and jealousy, as sinful as they are facetious.
Of course, these remarks do not eliminate the need to fight corruption. They are just a reminder that we must always be watchful of our internal motives and guard ourselves against the corruption of the spirit. We must not let ourselves be misled by the false sense o justice. We must weed out the sprouts of false righteousness and hypocrisy in our souls that mask the thickets of envy and greed corrupting our souls.
By uprooting the evil within us with diligence and humility, we diminish the evil in our society and the world. So let us start our struggle with the world’s evil from ourselves.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds