The Seven Deadly Sins– thoughts from William Backus

This post about the seven deadly sins may give us some puzzle pieces to help us know ourselves! It seems to me that there may be some connection between our natural temperaments and deadly sins. All of us have the sin of pride, but the choleric temperament tends to struggle more with it. The phlegmatic temperament may be drawn to the sin of sloth; a melancholy may yield more easily to greed. This is not set in stone…childhood training and experiences and who we identify with also shapes us. It is something to think about!

This is taken from What Your Counselor Never Told You by Dr. William Backus

The History of the Seven Deadly Sins.
The sin list reaches back at least sixteen hundred years, and probably beyond. It was created as a moral/spiritual diagnostic aid to persons who were totally serious about their Christian lives. The seven deadly sins are: Pride, Envy, Anger, Greed, Sloth, Lust, and Gluttony.

Author’s definition of sin.
Biblical writers understood sin as something larger than an action or thought; they recognized an actual power inside us, a driving motivation. This drive influences our actions, but it is not identical with actions. We have an inclination to disobey God and exalt self, a disposition that is part of every human being.

Some sins are single behavior episodes; habits are grooves. The Seven Deadly Sins are all habits. Not one of the Seven Deadly Sins is a single, separate sinful behavior–not one is an individual action. Instead, all of them are what psychologists refer to as traits. Traits are characteristics, enduring habits, under the skin inclinations to behave in certain ways. Traits are enduring behavioral motivations, leanings toward acting in a given way.

The Seven Deadly Sins are character traits that seem to be pervasive throughout humanity.

Descriptions of the Seven Deadly Sins
(and how they can be revealed in our lives)

Pride:
Being desirous of occupying first place; seeking to have authority over others; detesting being under authority or external restraints; overestimating self or one’s own abilities and gifts; exhibiting blindness to good qualities in others; showing contempt for others; being anxious to get credit; having presumptuous ambition; taking on tasks without the ability to perform them; thriving on praise and recognition; boasting or faking self-deprecation; being shocked with the misdeeds and faults of others; being self-satisfied; being thrilled or enamored with one’s own spiritual and moral achievements; being strongly opinionated, inflexible, or argumentative; chafing under the rule and sovereignty of God.

Envy:
Habitually being in competition with others; feeling unhappy when another gets a break; being glad when others (especially those perceived as “equals”) have setbacks or troubles; losing “self-esteem” when another is perceived as having more (spirituality, attractiveness, popularity, intelligence, material rewards—anything) than oneself; desiring to expose defects in others; frequently interpreting other’s words and deeds as bad; persistently tuning in to compare self with others—their qualities, possessions, achievements, etc.

Anger:
Having a strong desire for revenge; cultivating and harboring resentment; thinking about getting even; arguing, quarreling, fighting; being primarily silent and sullen; being sarcastic, cynical, insulting, critical; frequently being indignant, desiring harm for others; considering it right to “settle the score.”

Greed:
Wanting to accumulate material things just for the sake of possessing them; cheating, lying, or stealing to gain or hang on to things; being tightfisted and retentive; being excessively thrifty; being overcautious about spending; hating to give; being stingy; being callous toward the needy; hating to pay debts, avoiding repayment whenever possible; feeling excessive distress at small losses; finding it hard to trust God to provide for needs.

Sloth:
Being sorrowful in spirit and mind; finding it difficult to have hope; believing effort and work are too difficult; procrastinating, putting off attending to important matters; deciding prayer or worship is too hard; being sluggish and heavy; having a will that is weak; feeling it is useless to try to break bad habits; often investing self in trivial activities; constantly seeking bodily ease and comfort; preferring idleness to activity; being sad and spiritually worn out; drifting along in mediocrity; being dissatisfied and angry with God for not giving feelings of peace, consolation, and happiness.

Lust:
Being regularly preoccupied with sexual pleasure, thoughts, and fantasies; thinking about sexual pleasure to the exclusion of other things; looking at, touching, embracing, or engaging in intercourse with illicit or forbidden sexual objects or activities; persisting in excessive interest, conversations, or jokes about sex.

Gluttony:
Overindulging in pursuit of worldly pleasure; eating too much; eating too fast; being preoccupied with food; drinking alcohol too often or too much; being finicky or choosy about food or drink; overly investing in the enjoyment of gourmet foods, wines, literature, music, the arts; embracing pursuits that do not meet fulfillment in God.
End quote.

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Filed under Knowing ourselves, Maturity, self-centeredness, Truth

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