This Sunday we are dealing with one of the seven deadly sins. This is the stealth sin; it flies under the radar. This sin does its insidious work when we least expect it. We deceive ourselves by thinking it is an innocent sin: Everybody does it and nobody gets hurt.
This is the sin of envy, and it is nicely illustrated in the film Amadeus, which won 8 academy awards, including the best picture of the year for 1984.
The film tells the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from the perspective of Antonio Salieri, a court musician in Vienna. Salieri knew that God had blessed him with musical abilities. He worked hard at his craft, writing choral pieces that were fine and instrumental works that were good.
Salieri was a very devout Christian. As a young man he prayed, "Let me make music that will glorify you, Father. Help me lift the hearts of people to heaven. Let me serve you through my music."
Then Mozart came on the scene. He was a child prodigy, a boy wonder, an incredibly gifted musician. He astonished the crowds, playing music as if it was second nature to him. Complex melodies came from his inventive mind and dancing fingers. Mozart played songs that seemed to bring heaven right down to earth.
Here's the catch: Mozart was such a blatant sinner. He was immature, vulgar, and obscene. He was a crude and obnoxious womanizer.
Salieri grew green with envy. How could God be so unfair? He wanted to glorify the Lord with his music. Salieri lived a devout life. Why should Mozart traffic in all these worldly pleasures and still get ahead? Salieri spent a lifetime of hard and tedious work. Why should it all come so easily for young Mozart?
The story continues until Mozart dies a mysterious death. Salieri secretly rejoices!
And in the dramatic climax, Salieri sits in an insane asylum, where he curses God for denying him the kind of talent that was given to Mozart.
Envy ruined his life. And it can ruin yours.
This Sunday, we will discoverer the antidote to the poison of envy.