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The Seven Deadly Sins

Dee Tian | Monday, October 10, 2011

There’s nothing better than watching reruns of America’s Next Top Model and eating Chinese food when you’re hung over. I love the photo shoot with the Seven Deadly Sins. This got me thinking, where did this list come from and why are they so evil?

I did some research: Pope Gregory the Great edited Charles Panati’s list of wicked human passions and ranked them from worst (the most offensive to love) to least.

Luckily, I’m guilty of them all.

Pride: I know we should give glory to God for our achievements and successes. However, it’s easy to think “Wow, I’m awesome, I did that.” In everyday life, being proud, having self-esteem, are all good things. But to devalue others’ accomplishments or overly prioritize oneself can be dangerous.

I think sayings like, “You come first,” are flawed. If you love someone, sometimes you don’t put yourself first. It can’t be awful to be proud of non-superficial things, like doing well in school or getting a good job.

I’ll admit I’m proud of the shallow things too. My friends will tell you I need to stop (half) joking about being so darn cute (Don’t worry, God smote me for being vain already). But even the deeper things … I have judged others’ romantic relations, proud that mine was so great, only to have everything in my relationship fall apart.

Pride may reside in all of us, but it’s still sinful.

Envy and Greed: Unless you’re a Franciscan monk, chances are you’ve wanted more than you had or wanted something that belonged to someone else. Isn’t that just part of human nature? Wanting more? Better? It’s how we stay motivated — to get into your dream college, that next promotion, the nicer car, the bigger house …At the same time, those aren’t the most important things. Maybe this has to do more with focus. We acknowledge our earthly desires but focus on our relationships with God, family and friends.

Sloth and Gluttony: For the most part, I’m okay for sloth (except when I make my 11-year-old brother bring me up a snack at noon on weekends when I’m hung over in bed), but I can see why it’s so destructive.

Lack of motivation is to not use our God-given talents to better this world. So often we want to see change in the world, but don’t care quite enough to do anything. Now, gluttony’s a huge problem for me. I don’t see the point in drinking if I’m not going to get drunk … why the empty calories? I also have the craziest diet: I won’t touch junk food or fried foods for months, then binge and eat until I want to throw up for a few days. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Lust: When my friends and I attempted (and failed) to dress up as the Seven Deadly Sins for Halloween, I was Lust. Maxim says the average woman thinks about sex 2-5 times a day … I say, there’s no way it’s that low. I’ve made excuses for being lustful. I say, God, I don’t have premarital sex, while many people do, so can’t I at least think about and do other sexual things?

I already know his answer. Sexuality is natural and beautiful. I think it must be “evil” in excess, yet it’s glorified in today’s pop culture. Our culture is obsessed with sex — premarital sex is portrayed as exciting, fun, often emotionless and problem-free. While we blame so many things on the media, isn’t it we who make media, reflect and consume it?

Wrath: I’m easily irritated, annoyed and impatient. Doesn’t sound like I’m much fun to be around either huh? Are hot tempers something we can overcome?

I physically can’t control myself from feeling angry or rolling my eyes when someone is rude. I can’t hold a grudge if someone wrongs me and then sincerely apologizes, but I can’t help but feel the ones who don’t acknowledge their wrongs don’t deserve to be forgiven.

Recently, I learned that forgiveness is often for the forgiver, not the forgiven. It’s exhausting staying angry at someone. Jesus preached to forgive those who did not deserve it. That’s the whole point of mercy. We didn’t deserve eternal life, yet Jesus was willing to die for us. If we only forgive and love those who forgive and love us, how are we any different from the rest of the world? Bitterness is also poisonous. I often am bitter if I feel that I’m giving more than I’m receiving. But isn’t that also what Jesus preached? It’s a blessing to give more than we get. Our reward is in heaven.

I know God’s disappointed when we fall short of his holiness, but it’s inevitable. Does that mean it’s okay to not try? Just because your parents love you unconditionally, is it okay to continue to do things that make them cry every night? So why do we continue to hurt and offend our Heavenly Father?

Dee Tian is a senior marketing major with minors in philosophy and anthropology. She can be reached at ytian1@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.