Seven Deadly Sins

The Beatitudes are some of the most popular verses in the Bible among both Christians and nonchristians.  Here they are from Matthew 5:3-12:

And Jesus opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called( sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I was amazed to discover, on reading Back to Virtue by Peter Kreeft, that these Beatitudes yield the original “seven deadly sins” which many Christians today have discarded as obsolete or unbiblical.  But check this out!

beatitude description, associated vice

Those who are poor in spirit are humble, which fends off selfishness, or pride.

Those who mourn share with the unhappiness of others, rather than resenting the happiness of others, which is known as envy.

The meek refuse to harm others and the peacemakers actively protect others, both of which opposes wrath.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are actively seeking what is good, which those who are slothful refuse to do.

Those who are merciful are generous in giving to others (materially or judicially), whereas those who are greedy aim to take things for themselves.

Those who are pure in heart are centering their hearts’ desires upon God and His righteousness, while those who lust are divided in their attentions to every whim of attraction.

And finally, those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness are deprived of the ordinary requirements for living, which is the opposite condition of a glutton, who consumes an inordinate amount of worldly goods.

All this is not to say that the Seven Deadly Sins are an exhaustive list of the worst possible sins known to humankind, but they do form a very helpful guide for evaluating both personal and societal virtue.  And of course, there are situations where these can overlap too.  Any study of Christian Ethics, in my opinion, is a waste of time if these are completely omitted.  Same for the Ten Commandments, we Christians need to understand in what ways God’s Law holds over us.

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About Fr. Brench

I'm a Priest in the Anglican Diocese in New England interested in spiritual formation, theology, and the growth of God's Kingdom.
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2 Responses to Seven Deadly Sins

  1. PC says:

    I recall that somewhere in last year, History Channel had a documentary series on the Seven Deadly Sins. It should be available in YouTube.

  2. Pingback: Shepherd of Hermas – 5th Mandate | Leorningcnihtes boc

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