Proverbs 23:17 (NLT)
17 Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord.
King Solomon provides two thoughts in this proverb. First he states what not to do and then second he states how we should maintain high thoughts of God in order not to carry out the stated sin. Quna’ is the Hebrew word for envy, which Webster’s defines as, “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage”.
According to the Associated Press, Brian Barrett was a 22 year old, aspiring industrial arts teacher who was possibly murdered due to jealousy. It is a strange case involving an internet fantasy. The fantasy surrounded what appeared to be an 18 year old marine headed off to war and a girl who sent him flirtatious pictures and gifts to his house. But the 18 year old marine was actually Thomas Montgomery, a 47 year old co-worker and friend of Barrett. He was a former marine and married father who perhaps was trying to relive events of his past. It seems both Barrett and Montgomery were pursuing the same 18 year old girl. What neither knew was the 18 year old girl was actually a 40 year old mother using her daughter’s identity. The problem started when Montgomery’s wife intercepted one of the gifts and wrote back to the women telling her Montgomery was married and obviously not 18. The West Virginia woman remembered Barrett as a co-worker friend of Montgomery and found enough information to write him about the wife’s allegations. The emails lead the woman and Barrett to stay in contact, but at the same time she was also staying in contact with Montgomery. Not knowing the woman was in contact with Montgomery, Barrett talked about his internet romance at work turning Montgomery to jealousy. Montgomery, although pleading not guilty, is believed to have approached Barrett and shot him in the parking lot. Envious of a relationship conceived in sin Montgomery should have turned to the Lord instead of turning to envy.
Pray your heart may not desire to follow the sin of others. Pray your eyes will be set upon the Lord and you will have a desire to follow him. Pray the spirit will be strong and that the flesh will not overcome.