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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | May 20, 2018

The seven deadly sins and their seven virtues

By Trey Hegar, First Presbyterian Church | Jan 26, 2018

“All Seven Deadly Sins Committed At Church Bake Sale,” read the headline to the Onion article. The seven deadly sins — avarice, sloth, envy, lust, gluttony, pride and wrath — were all committed Sunday during the twice-annual bake sale at St. Mary’s of the Immaculate Conception Church. Mrs. Rose declared her cookies were always the best. Mr. Green ate eight pieces of pie. Mrs. Johnson swore Mrs. Rose bribed the judges. In the end, the bake sale made a lot of money.

Of course the article was a farce. Even so, it was worth the two minutes it took to read it.

We often hear of the seven deadly sins but did you know there are seven virtues that correspond to them? They are supposed to help us from committing the seven deadly sins. I guess we never hear about the good ones because the bad ones sell newspapers. In any case, there are opposite virtues that relate to the deadly sins.

Here is an example. The opposite of pride is humility. Someone is said to be full of pride if they think they can do it all alone and they don’t need any help. A humble person knows that we are all interdependent on one another and on the Spirit of God who connects us all. There are times in all of our lives when we need help. Being humble keeps from being full of pride.

On a quick side note, the seven deadly sins are different that the 10 commandments. The commandments are broken. The seven deadly sins are what lead us to break the commandments. For example, envy may lead to murder. “He was so jealous. He said he would kill for first place. He did.” The commandments are the rules.

Here is the rundown of the other seven deadly sins and their corresponding virtue briefly explained.

Envy as opposed to kindness. Envy is like jealousy, but this is the kind of jealousy where you may do harm. An example may be, “She was so envious of the cookies that she knocked them all off the table.” Envy is counterbalanced by kindness and self-worth. We are less envious when we are satisfied with our own efforts so that we extend kindness.

Gluttony is balanced by the virtue of self-control. I struggle with this one personally!

The opposite of greed is generosity. It is often said that money isn’t bad. Why we want it is the true test. If we want more to do more good, then we may be generous. If we want more solely for hoarding, then we may be greedy. Be generous.

Purity in heart and appreciation prevents lust. It does so by helping us see beauty in others and not just objects. Having a deep feeling of self-worth also helps. We don’t need other things to make us feel good.

Sloth is often confused with laziness; however, it is more closely related to a deep depressive state where all joy is lost. It may be encompassed with a feeling that the world is pointless. It is counterbalanced with diligence and appreciation. A zealous nature and decisive decision to see and do good is a great virtue.

Forgiveness and patience keep wrath and anger at bay.

Finally, there is pride. It is often most dangerous because it can cause us to render all other things as useless objects for our own whims. Humility and reverence keep us from being too full of ourselves.

I hope you see these virtues being lived out in your life.

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