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Friday, May 25, 2012

Hatred - Envy, Greed and Anger - Part 2

Another aspect of Envy, the hatred of others, is Greed.  Greed is different from Gluttony, though both share the common element of reliance on material things.

Whereas Gluttony consumes the object of desire, Greed is a 'hoarder.'  It holds onto what it has, and seeks more and more.  Greed derives comfort from 'having' rather than 'using.'

It can manifest in many different ways, and can sometimes be confused with natural tendencies to save and plan ahead.  However, Greed can only be truly discerned when someone is asked to share or get rid of something.  If the greedy person is asked to share, he will lash out with fearful anger.  He is afraid of his inadequacies, and sees the world as having many things that he wants but cannot get.  So, he holds onto what he has.

The true hatred of Greed comes out when people have genuine needs, and yet the greedy person still will not share.  He may have millions of dollars, but will not  part with one of them when others are starving and desperate.

Think of the pre-reformed Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (

The greedy man hates his neighbor, weighed down by his memories of what he lost in the past and his resentments.  It is not a delight in what he has, but a torment in how much more he needs.  He enjoys the moment of acquisition, only to quickly crave more.

Those things he acquires he cannot 'risk' in using, and so he stores them away, even with utter neglect, because his obsession moves from having to wanting to have more.  Our greed will also leave us susceptible to 'get-rich-quick-schemes' that promise even more than what we already have.

Greed is a terrible prison, because we see the needs of others and reject them in favor of dwelling on our own neediness.  We are always hungry for more, yet never satisfied.

It also assumes that we have absolute control over our things.  Greed tells us that something is MINE.  It tells us that ownership is absolute, and that ownership only comes through self-will and determination to acquire.  There is no gratitude, and it certainly does not take into account that what we have comes from God.  Greed has no god at all except its hunger for more.

Greed can often become an addiction, yet it is often ignored or excused as someone being 'thrifty' or 'frugal.'  The difference can be seen in the attitude towards giving: the greedy person will become angry when he must part with his money or things, whereas the frugal person will be glad he was clever enough to put something away to have it at just the right time.

Greed is one of the great struggles for the Christian, which is why Jesus Christ admonishes those who follow Him to be generous and not obsess about material possessions.  He does not tell people to live frivolously, yet He also warns men not to stockpile thinking that live is only about acquiring things.

Churches are often roiled in conflict with people struggling through their own Greed.  Many Christians will carefully examine their financial situation to determine what is the least amount of money they must donate to meet the minimum requirements of other people's expectations, or perhaps even God.  In most cases, God does not factor in because our Greed tells us that we are far more needy than our neighbors, and God has done very little to help us.  Someone else who is less needy ought to provide more.

So, Envy's hateful eye casts about on its neighbors and sees their good, while Greed sees that good as both something desired and a good enough reason not to part with anything.  In the face of genuine need, Greed will let someone die on the doorsteps.


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