. . . One who has heretofore presumably been very happy with his life and content with his good fortune suddenly feels very unhappy simply because another has had some good fortune as well.
Who is it that whispers so subtly in our ear that a gift given to another somehow diminishes the blessings we have received? Who makes us feel that if God is smiling on another, then He surely must somehow be frowning on us? You and I both know who does this – it is the father of all lies. It is Lucifer, our common enemy, whose cry down through the corridors of time is always and to everyone, “Give me thine honor.”
It has been said that envy is the one sin to which no one readily confesses, but just how widespread that tendency can be is suggested in the old Danish proverb, “If envy were a fever, all the world would be ill.” The parson in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales laments it because it is so far-reaching – it can resent anything, including any virtue and talent, and it can be offended by everything, including every goodness and joy. As others seem to grow larger in our sight, we think we must therefore be smaller. So, unfortunately, we occasionally act that way. . . .
But God does not work this way. The father in this story [“The Prodigal Son”] does not tantalize his children. He does not mercilessly measure them against their neighbors. He doesn’t even compare them with each other. His gestures of compassion toward one do not require a withdrawal or denial of love for the other. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Other Prodigal,” Ensign, May 2002, p. 63