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Kindness is the key to defeating envy

It’s not easy bein’ green.

A recent sermon at my church covered the topic of envy, one of the seven deadly sins.

The message was that happiness isn’t limited, so we don’t have to take it away from someone else to experience more for ourselves. We should be happy for others.

If another farmer has a better crop, remember you have your own blessings to be counted.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Social media doesn’t help. Seeing filtered faces and perfectly posed photos can make us feel like we aren’t quite up to snuff.

So how do we stop envy from taking over?

That day in church, I learned about the seven virtues that counteract the sins: humility against pride, kindness against envy, patience against anger, and so on. The seven deadly sins get plenty of press, but I had honestly never heard of the seven contrary virtues.

Since kindness is key to protecting ourselves from envy (and has nothing to do with being religious), why not be proactive and bank some?

The sermon about envy ended with discussion of a calendar full of suggestions from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation ( Here are a few suggestions that could be done anytime:

  • Help your spouse or kids with chores.
  • Commit to avoid jumping to conclusions for a whole day.
  • Thank teachers for their dedication.
  • Apologize to someone you’ve wronged.
  • If a social media post makes you feel envious, post a kind comment instead.
  • Help a neighbor by plowing a snowy driveway.
  • Bring a souvenir to your spouse or kids, even if it’s just a snack from the co-op.
  • Send a handwritten letter.
  • If you get good service at a restaurant or store, leave a positive review online. 
  • Ask a relative to share a favorite recipe with you.
  • Donate gently used winter gear to a local school for kids who come to class without.

These are just a few ideas. Add your own and spread the kindness!

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