Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

The Seven Deadly Sins

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There are many lessons I have learned throughout my lifetime.  I have already expressed my thoughts on some of them – particularly for the benefit of my grand children.  If you find them worthwhile, that is a big bonus.

The Standards We Live By

Seven Deadly Sins by Rox Steady

GREED:  In their greed, they will exploit you with false worth

An early mentor, Jack McLaughlan, once told me, that we must provide a set of standards for our children to live by. He said it didn’t matter whether they were good or bad – as long as they stay consistent. The idea was that, when children reach rational maturity, they will question those standards and reset their own according to the lifestyle they have chosen.

This concept was followed by the children’s mother, Maureen, and me.  When the kids pitted one parent against the other – as they do – we would adjourn to another room to reach a consensus.

Now, as the eldest grandson is 18 years old, I see these standards reflected and expanded throughout both generations. That is one sign of success that I have achieved in setting the standards for all those people.

This is a far cry from the standards we see in modern society where many people live by standards in alignment with the seven deadly sins of Pride, Greed, Envy, Anger, Lust, Gluttony, and Sloth.  It seems most of us have forgotten the seven deadly sins.  Just ask someone to list them and you may well be disappointed.

The history of this list goes back at least to Pope St. Gregory the Great and St. John Cassian, but while the list itself is not strictly biblical, the Bible proscribes all seven. If one or more of these doesn’t seem like a big sin to you, it almost certainly means you have already rationalized it. Work on that one first. By the way, there is no set list of virtues corresponding to these, what follows below reflect my choices.

Let’s see how you fare!

Seven Deadly Sins by Rox Steady

ENVY: For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and evil work

Humility: (to counter Pride) Seeing ourselves as we are and not comparing ourselves to others is humility. Pride and vanity are competitive. If someone else’s pride really bothers you, you have a lot of pride.

Generosity: (to counter Greed) This is about more than money. Generosity means letting others get the credit or praise. It is giving without having expectations of the other person. Greed wants to get its “fair share” or a bit more. Entitlement through social welfare is a common symptom of greed. Don’t you just love the greed come forth on the TV show, “Deal Or No Deal”.

Love: (to counter Envy) “Love is patient, love is kind…” Love actively seeks the good of others for their sake. Envy resents the good others receive or even might receive. Envy is almost indistinguishable from pride at times. Perpetuating the tall poppy syndrome expresses envy.

Kindness: (to counter Anger) Kindness means taking the tender approach, with patience and compassion. Anger is often our first reaction to the problems of others. Impatience with the faults of others is related to this.

Self Control: (to counter Lust) Self control and self mastery prevent pleasure from killing the soul by suffocation. Legitimate pleasures are controlled in the same way an athlete’s muscles are: for maximum efficiency without damage. Lust is the self-destructive drive for pleasure out of proportion to its worth. Sex, power, or image can be used well, but they tend to go out of control.

Faith and Temperance: (to counter Gluttony) Temperance accepts the natural limits of pleasures and preserves this natural balance. This does not pertain only to food, but to entertainment and other legitimate goods, and even the company of others. McMansions, alcohol, and drugs are often a symbol of Gluttony.

Zeal: (to counter Sloth)  Zeal is the energetic response of the heart to God’s commands. The other sins work together to deaden the spiritual senses so we first become slow to respond to God and then drift completely into the sleep and become slow to respond to God and then drift completely into the sleep of complacency.

As my time winds down, I am prone to analysing these concepts and you may think I am doing the spiritual, holier than thou bit.  However, I was taught about the “Seven Deadly Sins” in primary school and, without even thinking about it, I have lived my life avoiding them.

Health Status:  For the first time since my ‘near death’ experience on 13 March, I feel that I am finally over the crisis and I will live to fight another day.  Today, I slept in until 12.30 pm and was able to function without the blocked airways that had become a way of life.  It was a fantastic experience to simply get out of bed and be able to do things … anything!  It just shows how long recovery can be at the back end of your life – it has been two full months to get over double pneumonia and pleuracy.  Are we there yet?


Written by Greg Naylor

11 May 2012 at 12:00 am

Posted in Greg Naylor, spirituality

Tagged with ,

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