Overcoming envy

Screenshot from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
It’s not often that I turn on the news to watch an uplifting story. It’s usually about death, or pain, or hunger, or taxes, or, you know, sports…

Unfortunately, the world is just an overwhelmingly negative place. As humans, our greed and blindness to consequence leads to war, poverty, and the slow death of our planet.

Even in our personal lives, people are always talking about how things were better “back in the day.” Countless explanations for the cause of such a decline could be brought up, but the way I see it, they all boil down to one answer: sin. Evil exists because we are capable of it and we, more often than not, take advantage of that.

Far on the other end of the spectrum of my television-watching experience lies Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, a brilliantly-written and gorgeously-presented anime series that seamlessly blends the themes of physical science and the supernatural.

Envy is a terrifying and seemingly unbeatable foe.
I am often reminded of this series when I think about examples of sin, because the seven deadly sins are personified as physical characters in the show’s universe. These antagonistic beings each possess characteristics and powers associated with their respective vice.

Among the most terrifying of these beings is Envy, whose ability to shapeshift allows him to effortlessly infiltrate any group and place the blame for his actions on whomever he chooses. He has a deep love for human violence, and at one point even started a massive war by disguising himself as a soldier and shooting a foreign child for the sake of nothing more than his own enjoyment.

And if that isn’t scary enough, his inherent form is a huge dragon-like beast (though trust me, it’s much creepier than a dragon). Due to his strategic thinking, stealth, and unmatchable physical power, Envy is a terrifying and seemingly unbeatable foe.

Good thing Edward Elric is used to fighting enemies that are taller than him.

Hope is not lost; eventually Envy’s powers are stripped and he is reduced to his most basic form: a tiny, slimy parasite with a squeaky voice and virtually no intimidating physical qualities. Even so, he still tries to goad on the heroes by pointing out how they have hurt each other, remarking that overcoming hatred and coexisting is impossible for human beings.

When faced with the ugly reality of what he truly is, Envy is overcome.

At this, Ed realizes why Envy hates humans so much—because Envy’s kind cannot love and support each other the way that the supposedly inferior humans can. When faced with the ugly reality of what he truly is, Envy is overcome with a deep sense of shame and regret, and takes his own life.

It was only after being confronted by the unrelenting powers of goodness in the world that he brought about his own end. I see the story of Envy as a metaphor for all of the world’s negative, sin-resultant qualities; there is plenty of evil in the world, and the mere thought of resisting it may seem pointless and futile; but in the end, if goodness perseveres, those evils will be powerless. This is made possible with the power of God, and for us to adopt attitudes of patience, hope, and above all else, faith. I hope you find that bit of information as inspiring as I do.

Mark Barron

Mark Barron

Guest Writer at Area of Effect
Mark Barron is a carbon-based humanoid life form recently discovered in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Scientists have confirmed that he responds positively to anime and video games.
Mark Barron

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