I don’t think many people think about sin very much, especially the Seven Deadly Sins and the concept of virtue seems to have virtually disappeared from our society. Perhaps it is time for us to revisit these so we can determine individually if we are performing in accordance with God’s desires, not the desires imposed upon us by others or by our society. This means that we need to reflect on our conduct to determine what is in our heart and where we should improve. Of course when you examine the Seven Deadly Sins I think virtually everyone is guilty of committing these but to what degree? God’s standard is very high but aren’t there some mitigating circumstances? These are my comments on these sins and what I feel are the mitigating circumstances.
- Pride == it is not wrong to take pride in your work, your children, or even in your success as long as it isn’t done to achieve superiority over some one else or used to brag or demean others.
- Covetousness == This is a hard one isn’t it? Is it wrong to strive for something better? I think not but if I want what you have without having to work for it or simply steal it then that would be wrong. If I desire something and earn it then I don’t think that is coveting, but if I want it and gain it through some nefarious means then that is wrong.
- Lust == Well this is another tough one and one I think most people fail at it. After all we all have thoughts that are lustful – you see pictures of people clad deliberately to arouse impure thoughts – that’s lust pure and simple. So this is certainly an area where we all could stand some improvement, but God created sex so sex in and of itself is not wrong or sinful. Rape and seduction or wrong but consensual sex is not – no matter what the preacher says.
- Anger== Perhaps there are some people who never anger but I think they would be a very small minority. So when does anger become more than a small sin? I thnk when a person’s anger impacts or dangers another person that is a sin. Getting mad and slamming doors is probably common and not much of a sin but striking another person or harming them in a fit of anger is a major sin and should not be condoned..
- Gluttony== Another tough one because how do you distinguish eating your fill from sinful over eating? I don’t think many people are gluttons but taking the largest piece or the last piece might be considered gluttony. Eating without sharing with others would be gluttony.
- Envy== I guess some people are envious – mostly I think they are jealous – and I guess all of us at one time or another are envious of other’s success or wealth or fortune – but I think this only rises to sin when it becomes all consuming.
- Sloth==My favorite. If you think you are working hard enough then you are but if others say you aren’t that is their opinion and not yours – thus you are not necessarily slothful. You only become lazy when you know in your heart you aren’t working hard.
Living without violating the Seven Deadly Sins is difficult because they are really not clearly defined. Obviously there are mitigating circumstances which doesn’t excuse the sin but does reduce the magnitude of the sin. So what about the Seven Cardinal Virtues? Is it any easier to be good? These are the Seven Cardinal Virtues but are they clearly defined? When and how do you display these virtues?
- Faith== If you have faith in God that is all that is necessary and that faith is not measured in terms of tithing or attendance or chest pounding. But who has never doubted or questioned?
- Hope== All of us have hope and hope we do better – but is that ego? Who or what should we hope for? How do we show Hope? I suspect to display this virtue you must hope for things beyond yourself.
- Charity == Some would construe this to mean giving money and certainly that is one way but I think a more meaningful way is to give of yourself. Time spent helping others falls into this category.
- Prudence== This is a tough one –I equate this to caution and circumspection but is this accurate. Does this mean that you think before you speak?
- Justice== Be fair in your treatment of others and do not show favoritism and NEVER use your position or power for selfish purposes. Justice normally means enforcing the law but is man’s law fair? Is it morally right? Does it mean that you receive what you sow?
- Temperance== Extremes in anything is bad and drunkenness falls into this category. Drinking is not sinful but drunkenness is. This also applies to actions and speech.
- Fortitude-== Courage both physical and moral and of course moral is the harder one because this is where you must stand up for what you think is right even when everyone else is telling you that you are wrong.
I have no idea if anything here is accurate or even close to being accurate. These are simply my views and clearly are subject to argument by others more knowledgeable than me. My only point is that avoiding sin is probably not possible and leading a virtuous life may be equally challenging. Evil is real, sin is real, and goodness does exist.