Sin can be a powerful word depending on your feelings about it. If you are deeply religious than it refers to your relationship with god and how your actions create a divide between you and your higher power. If your belief system fall more on the side of the secular than most think of sin as an action against their fellow-man. Either way your actions are against god or all of humanity and that is some heavy shit.
The most common discussions about sin revolve around the seven deadly sins, Gluttony, Envy, Lust, Wrath, Pride, Greed, and Sloth. These sins are viewed in the church as the opposite of the seven holy virtues, Temperance, Charity, Chastity, Meekness, Humility, Generosity, Zeal. These sins are not listed in the bible and are first recorded in the fourth century by poet Prudentius (ca. 348-ca. 405 C.E.). The closest you come to a biblical reference is Proverbs 6:16-19:
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (New International Version)
It wasn’t until the sixth century that you see the list really refined to what we see today. Regardless of our belief systems most people would agree that these seven actions are not necessarily a positive way to live your life. There aren’t many people who would say that any one of these sins in excess would be a good thing. We all have heard stories about someone who has taken one of these too far. Killed someone because of envy or hate themselves to death or even lost everything because of uncontrolled lust. Sure these are not traits that most of us would brag about but are they all that bad? Is a little bit of lust or greed or pride ok?
Gluttony is the sin of over indulgence. Now we don’t know about you but we are guilty of this from time to time. Sometimes we just can’t help but hit the all you can eat sushi place and stuff ourselves till we can barely make it back to the car. The key to that statement is “sometimes,” if we were hitting the all you can eat places overnight then we would have a problem. An occasional over indulgence is part of normal life, consistent gluttony is the road to poor health.
Envy is the sin that many modern humans have trouble with. It was bad enough back in the day when we saw what our neighbors had and envied them for their possessions, now with international media and the web we can see what everyone has. We are bombarded daily with images of how other people live and are made to feel bad if we don’t have the same. Being a little envious can be very motivating however being consumed by it can lead you to spend all your time on pursuits that only get you closer to someone else’s idea of success. Search yourself and determine what your idea of ideal is and work towards that.
Lust is sin that gets used against us the most. Humans are sexual beings therefore healthy adults spend a lot of time thinking about sex and lusting after the object of our attraction. This truth has been exploited by those in positions of power for a very long time. Whether they tried to tell us it was wrong to feel lust and control us by making us repress it or they catered to it and clouded our minds with pleasure. Today it is marketers that have the upper hand when it comes to the lust game. If you have ever seen a commercial with a scantily clad woman and have no idea what they are selling until the end when they show the product then you know what we are talking about. They use our natural lusty thoughts to sell just about everything. The biology of lust drives our desires but the media exploits it. Like the other sins a little is probably sufficient. We all enjoy a lusty romp but if you are driven only by your carnal desires then you will neglect other important aspects of your life, and if you find yourself wanting to buy a particular brand of hand soap because the girl in the bikini said she likes it, remember that they are manipulating your reptile brain.
Wrath is in our opinion the scariest of the sins. When we act from a place of hatred and fear we are capable of terrible things. We have all acted out of anger or frustration and done things we cant take back, we should actively try to reduce the number of times that happens. If you have anger issues or are in a situation that fills you with the need for revenge please find a safe healthy way to vent your anger. Try an intense workout or take a combat sports class where that energy can be focused. Although aggression is a natural human emotion, in modern times we need to focus that aggression into something positive because for the most part we do not live lives that require us to fight regularly anymore.
Pride is another tricky sin. You need just enough to maintain some self-esteem but not so much that you become intolerable. We probably all know people at both ends of this spectrum. Some people don’t see anything as good enough and have no pride for themselves and their work and then others who make everything they do out to the greatest thing ever done. We are proud of many things in our lives and hope that you are too, it is however a good idea to remember that whatever you are most proud of could change so don’t get overly attached. The world changes constantly so make sure that you are flexible and can just with it instead of becoming trapped by pride.
Greed is in our opinion up there with lust as the top of the list. We are constantly reminded that we need more and if we don’t have it we are failures. Greed has permeated all aspects of our lives. We are rarely happy with what we have and always want more, even if we don’t really need it. Like envy, greed can be a very motivating feeling to have however it can also consume you. Money has been proven to make us happier but only to a point. After about $75,000 no matter how much we make we don’t really get any happier. I know we all have those moments when we think that if we just had more we would be happy. Research actually shows that being content with what you have is far more important to lasting happiness than getting more stuff. So look around and appreciate your life and then take steps to improve areas if they need it but not out of a primal need for more.
Sloth is becoming easier than ever and it is starting to show in our relationships and waistlines. We can all understand the desire to be completely lazy and do nothing, in fact the days we spend being completely unproductive are some of our favorites. However all of the great things in life require a little or a lot of work. If you want to be healthy you have to put some work into your diet and exercise. Want a great relationship? Then you need to get off the couch and put some work in. If you want to be successful in your chosen profession then it’s gonna require some elbow grease. Even though you can flirt with people online as you are ordering food to be delivered and buying everything else you need on Amazon, doesn’t mean you should. Make face to face connections and cook your own food and maybe get out and walk around stores to do your shopping. It will be good for you.
As you can see we do not believe that the seven deadly sins are inherently evil. As Paracelsus a swiss german philosopher in the 1500’s said “The dose makes the poison”. It is not that you commit these sins it is how much control you give them. Perhaps a little sin in moderation is the key to a fun life, just don’t get carried away.