Here are words from the mouth of Jesus that we find in Mark 3:

28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

So much energy has gone in to deciphering just what is this unforgivable.  What is the point of no return, sin-wise?

Yet the bulk of Mark 3 shows us that envy is at the heart of Jesus’ conversation.

When you curse what you envy, and you ridicule that which you cannot attain — that starts the journey towards unfogiveness.  Why?  Because it leads TO THE POINT OF ATTRIBUTING THE WORK OF GOD TO THE POWER OF SATAN. That’s what is going on in this dialog, that’s what’s going on in our lives . . . and that’s what’s been going on for all time. Because what was it that the tempter used to trick the man and the woman in the Garden? Envy! To be like God, remember. Man, woman, why are you content just being people when you could be like God, knowing good & evil? Would you like some apple pie? CHOMP! God had something they didn’t and the envy for that all encompassing knowledge made them curse God and disobey.

But go back even further than the Garden. What was it that made Satan himself, that former angel, fall into rebellion? Envy! He wanted what God had! The prestige, the acclaim, the praise! He couldn’t stand to see it going to another & so longed for it for himself. So now it’s clear: this thing that stretches back before creation, then rears its head in Mark 3, and now lands squarely in our lives . . . it’s what makes you want to play the role of God, to be like God and when you realize you aren’t God you curse God . . . and THAT is unforgivable. You curse what you wish you could be and so you ultimately curse and hate God.

See, the unforgivable sin is NOT something you do. It’s an attitude you have. It’s NOT an act you commit. It’s a journey you take. And that takes you. It’s this all-consuming, uncontrollable envy, starting with people and ending with God, and the effect of that envy is corrosive. Once your heart becomes sufficiently corroded over and you are well versed in cursing what you envy you arrive at the state of unforgiveness. God doesn’t break through a corroded heart. It’s not an action. It’s a journey. But a lot of people end up taking it.

And I don’t want you to take the first step. It’s so much like I’ve told you before that I heard in an open AA meeting once: if you get hit by a train, it’s not the caboose that kills you. It’s the first care. Same with this. That corrosive journey of envy starts somewhere – siblings, co-workers, the rich & famous, other preachers – and it ends nowhere: eternal separation from God. You curse what you envy and that trip lands at an unforgivable place.

So where is it that you are so eaten up with what you’re NOT that you don’t develop what you ARE? I long for me and you not to curse what is beyond us but to delight in what is in others. Yeah, the success, the blessings, the godliness of others elevates the whole enterprise. Raises us all. It takes us all. You know, a great band doesn’t sound great because they’re all playing the same instrument but because they are all adding their part to the whole sound. And a great choir doesn’t sound great because they’re all singing the same part; they sound great because each is singing a part of the harmony that makes up the song.

The above is an excerpt from Head Scratchers, my first book with Abingdon Press on sale here and useful for small group studies everywhere.