«A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones» (Proverbs 14:30).
The first signs of Jewish presence in what is now Spain date back to the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. The apostle Paul expressed his desire to visit the Iberian Peninsula to proclaim the gospel of Jesus, which indicates there were important Jewish communities established in the region (Romans 15:24—28). Throughout the centuries, the Hebrew community managed to consolidate as a significant pillar of the Iberian economy, in spite of suffering attacks of intolerance and popular hatred at various times in history.
The situation would become more complex during the fifteenth century. Popular hostility against Jews, considered guilty for what their ancestors had done to Jesus, was encouraged from the pulpits of many churches, especially at Easter time. Rumors and lies were even spread against Jews (for example that they had stolen communion wafer from a certain church or crucified a child) which aggravated Christian people’s hatred. Likewise, their lifestyle was criticized, and they were envied both for their growing fortunes and the influence several of them had on the royal court and important people in the kingdom. As if that wasn’t enough, they were even hated for their feeding habits because they desecrated the norms established by the church regarding that matter—Manuel Fernández Álvarez, Isabel la Catholica [Isabella the catholic], Barcelona: Spain, 2012, p. 380.
The conquest of Granada, on January 1492, strengthened Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Arag6n’s power. So, on March 31 of the same year they decreed the deportation of Jews from the peninsula. They only had six months to leave the land they had lived in for centuries. Then, hatred, envy and abuse overflowed against that community, which was stripped of its possessions and estates. More than a hundred thousand Jews set off from Castile to various places, especially to Portugal. They were often ransacked and mistreated wherever they went.
True Christians can’t live with greed and hatred in their hearts. And much less pressure believers to hurt others who think differently. «If we sow distrust, envy, jealousy, self-love, bitterness of thought and feeling, we shall reap bitterness to our own souls»—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, sec. 3, p. 93.
Do you feel upset when others do better than you? Beware. It’s not good to allow those feelings to grow in life. Its fruits can be astonishingly destructive.