Gluttony. Lust. Greed. Sloth. Wrath. Envy. Pride.
The modern world knows this as the seven deadly sins. I don’t know where these concepts came from but I first saw them in the movie Se7en with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. I was too young to remember what happened in the movie (plus I remembered just now that I slept through the film twice and it was not the film’s fault). All I know is that these are the sins where most of our sinful actions based. Or so they say.
Some say this list came from the Bible, as far as I have read, these words do not come together in a single text. The closest one could ever have is this verse from Proverbs.
“These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.”
Proverbs 6:16-19 NKJV
While it might be great to find some explanation on the first or second list, and why it is always seven, I cannot fully explain all of those. All I know is that there are things that are wrong and we commit those things consciously or unconsciously. I also realize that the more we focus on avoiding these sinful acts, the more we tend to do some of them. I also see several effects in our life for this:
Anger and hatred.
I also believe that the more you focus on the number of sins you try to commit, the more you tend to get mad at yourself or the world or someone or something for committing the mistakes. Imagine the frustration whenever you catch yourself with a clever lie or eating too much. The frustration would build up and you’ll just find yourself yelling in anger “forget about it! So what if I am sinful?” You also end up blaming yourself or someone else for the outburst.
Fear and Worry
I also think it would make you look ahead and be afraid of living the good life for fear of committing the sins. The thought would run like, since I keep on thinking these thoughts or committing this and that, I’d rather just shut up and hide underground or just die. While there is a good life available to us, we will often worry if we have committed any of the seven or were bound to commit them. It’s a sickening feeling and it is also wrong. We will end up fearing for our lives for the punishment and consequences to come.
Pride and Self-Righteousness
On the other side, should we do well in avoiding all seven sins (good luck with that!), we tend to rejoice at ourselves for doing such a great job at doing it. We pride ourselves in the effort it took and see others as poor losers for not doing the same as we did. We tend to shout it out loud in the world, in the same manner that some uninformed mountaineer would shout at the summit of mountains. That is the human tendency. We fail to remember that this act of glory is also pride, a part of the seven.
As you can see, the more we try to avoid sinning, the more we commit it. It seems that for us, we can never escape it while we are alive. Yet, an assurance is given to us.
Instead, I would rather like us to focus on the assurance that no matter how many of the seven we commit we have forgiveness.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 3:17-18 NKJV
In the same manner that we are supposed to forgive our brethren “seven times seven” God promises to forgive us even more. Once we do, the condemnation is gone, and salvation begins. Our faith in Jesus Christ should be our focus. Though we tend to commit one or all of the seven, His forgiveness extends far beyond seven, even seven times seven. His love for us is that great that it also assures us that if ever we fall again to sin, He is there to forgive as long as we keep in mind not to sin again.
If we focus on His love and His forgiveness, we will gradually notice a change in our habits, our desires and our perspective. No more will anger, pride or fear consume us, but we will be filled with hope. Not sin, seven or whatever number, but love of the purest and truest form which could only come from God will be in our hearts. And if ever we fall, we are assured of an advocate in Christ who will be there to pick us up and help us put things back in order.
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
I John 2:1-2 NKJV