The Seven Deadly Sins

Mainstream scriptural texts especially those from Abrahamic religions state that sin is what prevents us from experiencing God in our lives on this earth and in the hereafter. Do not get me wrong here; this is not to mean that God does not love us because of the mere fact that we are sinners.

God’s love for you is unconditional.

He loves you with all your flaws and imperfections however much of a sinner you think you are. God’s love to you is equal to everyone else’s. However, God wants you to reciprocate His love for you. He tells us this through His prophets, seers, gurus, and spiritual masters. He tells us this through the  scriptures of various religious faith and denominations. When you direct all your love towards God, rest assured that you will experience His presence in your life in endless ways.

The two prime ways you can reciprocate God’s love is through commitment and intense discipline on some forms of spiritual practices, and by refraining from certain acts and deeds. The subject of this post centers on some of the deeds and acts that the scriptures teach us to refrain from in order to get us closer to God. These are the seven deadly sins.

Pride: According to the Cambridge English dictionary, pride is defined as a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction that one derives from being in possession of or after doing something good. It is a feeling which can also be derived from being connected or associated with someone or a group of people who have achieved these things. From this angle, we see pride as a positive emotion, so why is pride classified as one among the seven deadly sins, at what point does it become a sin. Much as pride has an element of self esteem and self respect, too much of it is seen as arrogance and lack of humility.

It is from pride that all other sins spring from. Excessive or sinful pride could more likely cause us to overlook others especially when we feel superior to them and their achievements. Through sinful pride we see others as undeserving of our time, presence and resources. Love towards another human being is love towards God, when you disdain your fellow human being simply because you perceive you are better than them, that is where you downfall begins. Pride leads to anger, envy, greed and so on. It is for this reason that the scriptures urge us to keep our pride in check by preventing it from flipping from something beautiful that it is, to the kind of sin that it could eventually become.
It was pride that turned angels into devils. It is humility that made men as angels-St. Augustine.

Anger: A story is told of a man who wanted to teach his son a life lesson on the effects of anger, so he brought home a bag of nails. He then told his son that each time he gets angry he should take a nail and hammer it on a nearby post. The boy did as he was told by his father, each time he got angry he took one nail and hammered it on the post. This went on for a while until the boy started to notice that his anger was gradually subsiding. One time, a whole day passed without him getting angry; he shared this news with his father and they were both overjoyed. But then the father gave his son another challenge. He asked his son to remove a nail from the post each time he went for a whole day without anger. Again the son did as he was asked, until one day he had removed all the nails from the post. Now his father told him that any time we act out of anger, our words, thoughts and deeds poke holes into those whom we direct our anger towards in much the same way as he did with the nails and the post. And even when we are sorry after our anger subsides, the holes and scars generated from our anger are likely to remain for eternity.

Greed: Greed is defined as going after more than we need. This includes everything with regards to any of the five senses. Halting greed is a statement of spiritual awareness. You only have to look at the vast panorama of color and light in the sky and on earth to realize how much this expanse nourishes our being. We can never own all of that. We can buy a large mansion with lots of land in it. But it shrinks to insignificance when compared with the great expanse of existence that is before our eyes. Being content with what you have, even as you yearn for more, is a sign of inner wealth.

Envy: Envy is a resentful emotion of covetousness towards the achievements or possessions of another person. Some sources state that envy was the key motive behind the first murder, that Cain was envious of his brother Abel because of the favor God had shown him and therefore killed him. When envy goes unchecked, it leads to a remorseful and a destructive way of life, and eventually, towards estrangement from divine love.

Envy robs you from realizing, enjoying, and sharing your gifts with the world. You get so stuck in focusing on another person’s achievements and possessions and needing to be like them, that you forget that God created you with your own unique gifts and talents that you should exploit ad use for the greatest good of all. You can either focus on God’s purpose for your life or obsess over other peoples achievements and possessions and your need to be like them. But you can’t do both; attempting to do both leads to divided allegiance and distraction, which would ultimately lead to doing little with your life.

Gluttony: Gluttony is the excessive consumption or over indulgence of foods and drinks. It is the uncontrollable desire to consume more than one requires. Ignatius Brianchaninov, a 19th century Russian Bishop said that gluttony coarsens and darkens an individuals’ mind and also leads to bodily impurity. This in turn he says, ruins the powers of self control, attention, sobriety, and vigilance; necessary elements for a spiritual seeker.

Lust: Saint Thomas Aquinas stated that sexual lust does not only interfere with our faculties of right reasoning, it also unloosens the human spirit. Aquinas argues that sex per se is important as it is the only means through which reproduction is possible, what he argues against is sexual lust whose attributes he says fall within adultery, rape, unnatural vice, and fornication.

Sloth: Sloth is lack of enthusiasm or lack of interest in setting upon work which someone is supposed to do. It is a form of laziness which is considered a sin because in a way it depicts lack of interest in God’s will; Each one of us has an inherent unique divine purpose to fulfill in the course of the lives we have been given; On this sin of sloth, God expects all of us to work and fulfill our respective divine purpose after we become aware of what they are, and if we don’t, to try and work diligently towards finding out what they are, and then work hard towards executing them. Failure to take this approach is what is considered the sin of sloth.

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