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The Seven Deadly Sins - Part 1: Pride and Envy

Posted Sep 01 2009 10:46pm

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The list of the seven deadly sins originated in the Catholic Church with Pope Saint Gregory the Great. Today we can view the list as more of a help for spiritual progress than a doctrine.They are called 'deadly' because they wound love and, therefore, do great harm to our relationship with God and others. Eventually, they can kill the soul, in a sense.

Seven deadly sinx One definition the the seven deadly sins I found defines them as "those transgressions which are fatal to spiritual progress" ( Why are these sins considered deadly, anyway!? It is because they wound love.They break God's heart.

We would never give a birthday gift to our child and then break it into pieces in front of them! It would break their heart! And so our sin breaks God's heart. Our worship of God is flawed; it is dishonest; it is less than the best we have to offer God when we hold back and cling to our sinfulness.

What are your personal "deadly sins?"  I like to think I am very self-aware and that I will and do readily (though shamefully) acknowledge I am a sinner. So when I took a very unscientific test on-line to discover my "score" on various deadly sins I  was fascinated, though not surprised, to find out that " pride" is my most deadly "fatal flaw" at this point in my life!

I am reminded of that sin of pride every time I too readily "forget" my own sinfulness in situations where I should extend grace to others! What is pride? Why is it, among all the sins of the world, considered one of the seven deadliest?

Pride has sometimes been called the sin from which all other sins originate or arise. Pride is manifested in relying upon ourselves alone, believing we are in control of our lives and even taking the personal credit for any good thing in our lives. It is also an unwillingness to view our personal faults honestly. Pride provides a flawed lens through which we view others as well. It interferes with our recognition of God's grace and others' worthiness to receive that grace.

"Pride [goes] before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling" (Proverbs 16:18 NAS).

To combat this sin, we must strive to see ourselves as the sinners we really are; not to compare ourselves to others - which can lead us to a false sense of righteousness. Our sinfulness is not be measured by being "better than" or less-flawed than another. Pride tricks us into believing that since we have not committed as heinous an act as someone else, we're not as sin-filled or sinful! Oh, what a trap we fall into when we start believing that lie!

Humility or meekness is the opposite of pride. I shared a post on meekness in my series on the Beatitudes. In that post I revealed, "As I explored this beatitude, all the ways I fail to be meek bubbled to the surface. I recall all the times I failed to be patient, gentle, kind, or calm in my interactions with others . . . as I spent even more time praying and reflecting on this lesson, I realized I had failed to be meek [or humble] even before God on more occasions than I care to admit."

Woman looking up - face only In that same post, I shared, "A meek woman is one who is God-controlled in every aspect of her life. . . The meek woman is one who submits not to her will or to that of the world, but to the gracious and great will of her God." A meek or humble woman acknowledges God's grace upon her life.

Envy can be equally as deadly to our souls as is pride! Envy is discontent with good fortune of others. Envy resents not only what others have, but anything they may acquire in the future! "Keeping up with the Joneses" is a saying I grew up with--a younger generation may relate to "Keeping up with the Kardashians"--to describe our need and/or desire to compare ourselves to others--and to base our satisfaction with our own lives , or lack thereof, upon what others have.

There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting more than we have! God wants us to have in abundance! Where we so often get hung up, though is that in our pride, WE decide what we need. We translate our desire for something into a perceived need.

"For everything that is in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world" (1 John 2:16 NIV).

As I mentioned in the last post, Confession is Good for the Soul, I believe our envy and pride, like all other sins, are really about fear. We fear that we won't have enough of whatever it is we see or think we need. When we allow our pride and our envy to rule our lives, we edge out God, and deny His desires for our lives.

God has a perfect and unique plan for us and our lives.In order to receive the full and abundant blessings God has planned for us, we must be open and receptive to His desire, not our own.

In my next installment we'll address the sins of greed and gluttony and how they damage our relationship with God and each other. I hope you'll join me.

"And may you have the power to understand, as well God's people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God" (Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT).

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