The Deadly Sin of Greed

The Deadly Sin of Greed

Today concludes our blog series focused on the Seven Deadly Sins.  Find all of the links to each post here. And to read more on this topic, check out my book, Seven Deadly Sins: The Uncomfortable Truth.


God started working on the greed of his people as soon as they cleared the Red Sea. Wilderness was their training ground for life. They were totally dependent on God. No crops. No fast food restaurants. No grocery stores. Just God. He gave them manna in the morning and quail in the evening. The instructions were simple. Gather only what you need.

Some got greedy and began to stockpile the heavenly groceries, only to discover maggots in their manna. The lesson was simple. Learn to live from the hand of God. Go out every day and work for what he gives you. On the sixth day, gather enough for the seventh day. Enough is enough. Don’t stockpile. Don’t get greedy.

The Deadly Sin of Greed Destroys Our Capacity to Trust God

Greed is a deadly sin because it destroys our capacity to trust God. It suggests that we can secure ourselves and please ourselves by the possession of things rather than in obedient relationship with God. It destroys our concern for our neighbor and for their “enough.” Greed makes us small.
But in a consuming world, can we imagine ourselves unplugged from greed? Is there a spiritual laxative that can loosen the constipation of stuff that clogs our soul? Stuff that is consumed but never passes through our hands. Stuff that clutters our lives like trinkets in a musty attic.

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The Deadly Sin of Lust

The Deadly Sin of Lust

The deadly sin of lust seems to meet us at every turn.

Today, we swim in a cultural ocean of blatant eroticism, sexual advertising, accessible pornography, seductive clothing, and body mania. Men are applauded for sexual conquest. Women draw attention by looking and acting seductive. Pre-marital sex is quietly becoming commonplace. Affairs are quickly excused.

I could write post after post about “how bad it is out there,” but the truth is, it has always been bad out there. Except for the “Good Old Days.”

I think there were about three of them.

We find them in Genesis 1-2, where the world as God made it is a sinless nudist colony in a sensual garden where a man and a woman live together in perfect fellowship with their Creator. There has never been better sex than in the Garden.

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The Deadly Sin of Pride

The Deadly Sin of Pride

Pride. We’re not talking about a healthy sense of self-worth or a proper self-esteem. We’re talking about the deadly sin of pride, the kind that is snobbish, patronizing, condescending, rude, impatient, demanding, unkind, cruel, insensitive, pompous, egocentric, haughty, vain, superior, and arrogant.

This is the pride of Lucifer himself, the once-upon-a-time heavenly angel of light who decided that he’d rather play first fiddle in hell than second fiddle in heaven. His carnival mirror was bloated beyond reality and Lucifer thought himself too important to stand in the shadow of the Almighty. So he split.

Deadly Sin of Pride

Pride is so easy to see in others, but so hard to see in self. It is especially easy to see in a junior high daughter. She has life all figured out. She knows more than her stupid parents. They are an embarrassment to her. The world revolves around her. The sun waits for her to get out of bed every morning before it dares to shine. She should not have to wait for her turn in the bathroom. The family meals should be what she likes. Her favorite program trumps all others. The parental taxi should be at her beck and call to whisk her to her essential appointments.

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The Deadly Sin of Sloth

The Deadly Sin of Sloth

What exactly is sloth? I’m not talking about the two-toed creature.

What is Sloth in the Seven Sins?

Sloth can look like this:

  • Hitting the snooze button repeatedly
  • Drinking straight from the milk jug
  • Leaving dirty clothes on the floor
  • A love affair with the remote control
  • Never returning calls or writing thank-you notes
  • Leaving exactly two sheets on the toilet paper roll
  • Falling asleep every night in front of the TV
  • Living for sports
  • Tenured professors coasting intellectually
  • Troubled marriages passing on the marriage retreat
  • Knowing TV characters better than family members
  • Preaching other people’s sermons
  • Wandering the mall, killing time, mastering small talk
  • Amusing ourselves to death
  • Letting discipline slide
  • Indifference

Lethargy.

Apathy.

Spiritual amnesia.

A deadly sin.

That’s sloth.

Deadly Sin of Sloth Began in the Garden

Every deadly sin has its origin in Eden. The feeding cycle of the garden is simple. Empty. Full. Empty. Full. With the repetitiveness of a ticking clock, humans live their lives in cycles. Morning. Evening. Morning. Evening. Sleep. Work. Sleep. Work. The connection between creature and creator is rhythmic. And the chief end of man is to worship God and enjoy him forever.

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The Deadly Sin of Gluttony

The Deadly Sin of Gluttony

Food. The Bible begins and ends with it: from forbidden fruit in Eden to a sumptuous wedding banquet in the Revelation. What we do with food is a clear reflection of our relationship to God.

The provision of food is an expression of God’s creating activity. The interesting fact is that both the human and the food we humans eat comes from dirt. The difference is that God breathed into our dirt the breath of life and we became creatures capable of relationship with God, while the food-trees are not so blessed. When God breathed into our nostrils we became a living being – nephesh. The root of this Hebrew word is throat, a passageway from outside our body to the inside. It is this passageway through which all that sustains us passes – air, water, food. We are empty and need to be fed. We cannot retain our food or water or air, and need replenishing. We are open throats, walking thirsts, human breathings. Chutes. And God is the one who takes initiative to fill our emptiness. God is our provider, our feeder.

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The Deadly Sin of Envy

The Deadly Sin of Envy

Anastasia and Drusilla. These two give stepsisters a bad name. They are cold and cruel. They want to reduce Cinderella to cinders, rags and ashes. They degrade her, demean her, and dehumanize her. They experience her beauty as emptiness inside themselves. They experience her quiet peace as something they lack. Her presence causes them the pain of self-awareness. They feel persecuted by the good in her. Not only do they want what she has, they want her not to have it.

There is a name for this – envy. And it is a deadly sin. Those who practice it will never know life happily ever after.

Of course, Cinderella isn’t the only classic story about envy.

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Deadly Anger

Deadly Anger

What would cause a person to strap explosives around his body, walk into a crowded room, and kill?

What would bring a postal worker to the point of revisiting the site of his firing and take human life?

What would put a teenager on the street in prostitution?

What would send a college senior into a classroom with random murder on his mind?

Anger.

Yes, but a certain kind of anger – unresolved anger. And if you follow the breadcrumb trail backwards from the point of destructive anger, you will probably find unresolved loss. Something important has been lost and we are powerless to get it back, heal it, fix it, or protect it. And we are angry.

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