by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
"Be not envious of evil men" (Proverbs 24:1).
Does anyone envy the leper? No one envies him. Why then do some envy the evil man when evil is a greater sickness than leprosy? Leprosy is a disease of the flesh but evil is a disease of the soul. A leper can be healthy within while he is unhealthy on the outside. However, the evil man can be healthy on the outside but his interior is ill, his heart is sick. Greater value has a tree that is sick on the outside but has a healthy core than a tree that is healthy on the outside but has a rotten core. Thus, leprosy is a lesser evil than evil i.e., than sin. Because under evil, the All-Wise One thought of sin as evil.
Does the physician envy the sick person? He does not envy him. Neither does the righteous one envy the sinner. If you do not know whether you are righteous examine your heart: do you envy the sinner? If you envy the sinner then you are not righteous; if you do not envy the sinner, then rejoice, O righteous one of God. The sick person can envy the healthy one, but the healthy person does not envy the sick person. Neither does the righteous envy the sinner. A physician recognizes a fatal illness of his patient and, knowing that, he pities him but does not envy him. The righteous one recognizes the sickness of sin, horrifying and deadly, and does not envy the sinner but pities him.
O good and compassionate Lord, uproot envy from our hearts and implant love. To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.