I am about to begin a sermon series on “Seven Life-Affirming Virtues.” What I plan on doing is staking out the territory God inhabits (the virtue), and addressing the two extremes that flank either side. Both flanks are sins. For example: the virtue humility is flanked on one side by pride (too high a view of one’s self) and on the other side by low self-esteem (too low a view of one’s self.)
My story this morning concerns an article I read about DISCIPLESHIP magazine back in 1992. In the article, readers individually responded to a survey by communicating to the editors of the periodical the greatest spiritual challenge of each reader.
Here is how they ranked:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
6. (Tie) Sexual lust
If you count materialism as greed, you find all seven of the traditional “seven deadly sins” present. Notice none of these sins will get you thrown in jail. None will even get you disfellowshipped from today’s churches. As far as the secular and spiritual cultures are concerned, you and I can practice these sins with impunity—free from unpleasant consequences.
Maybe that is why these sins are called “deadly.”