Of the 7 Deadly Sins, I find Lust and Wrath to be the most harmful to humanity. That may say more about me, than it does humanity. Lust to excess leads to unseemly, crass actions. I am stunned by news programs where a bait is placed on the Internet and some guy shows up at the home of a 13, 14, 15-year-old, ready to have sex. It is a sickness, a disease. These men need help. Is it desperation? When it comes to children, sex should not be in the picture. Not even a thought.
Wrath – anger. In the extreme, anger is rage. I have seen internal rage tear up friendships, destroy a person’s spiritual life. Anger to the extreme eats a person’s soul from the inside out, creates bitterness, leads to wife beating, domestic abuse, heartbreak, bruised and battered bones. Families are torn up, destroyed. Verbal abuse. Relationships, toast.
I am trying to write about the negatives, the Deadly Sins. But I am tired of the negative. It wears on me. I find myself wanting to focus more on the positive, the Virtues. I make daily choices not to stay at the negative. It seems so much more fruitful to see the glass half full.
I once read a study on happiness and the bottom line was that people who focus more on the positive, live longer, happier, more productive lives. That doesn’t mean being naïve. You can live in reality, make change, give back to humanity, rise above your own adversity, and still spin each day to the positive side. Some may find that lacks edge. But I’m not at a place where I want to live on the edge. I am looking for peace.
Of the 7 Virtues, I would say Temperance is the one that has given me the most trouble. Not in terms of modesty. But discipline. There are areas where I lack discipline. I find the more structure I place around the problem areas, the more successful I am. Procrastination – I place that under Temperance. I don’t procrastinate around my writing anymore. That is something that has changed from doing daily writing practices over years. When I drop off, or stop the practice for a while, it is still hard to get back into it. Better to keep it going in small increments every day.
Food is another area that I have struggled with most of my life. I don’t have the thin, will-o’-the-wisp body, metabolism and frame that can eat anything. I have the peasant body, the apple shape. It takes work for me to remain at a good weight for me. When it comes to exercise, I am a slug. I guess that would fall into the area of Sloth. The opposite of Sloth is Diligence. Diligence comes back to structure, careful use of time and energy, discipline.
There seems to be a fine line between some of the Virtues and Sins. Shades of purple gray. I am not Catholic and don’t know what it means to go to confession, though it is depicted in movies and television as being a sacrament where anything is forgiven, even murder. I don’t understand how that works. You are spiritually forgiven by virtue of a few words, yet you still have to pay the Piper, the worldly price for your sins?
I quickly glance at the two lists again. I see the Virtues and Sins as human traits. As long as we have brains and bodies, we’re going to make wrong choices. And we’re going to look for ways to absolve ourselves. When it comes down to it, isn’t it the severity of the sin? And the faithfulness or sincerity of the virtue? Sadly, sometimes it is who you know that determines your punishment. Or how much money you have. Is the world a just or unjust place? Justice should be a Virtue.
-posted on red Ravine, Monday, April 21, 2008
-related to Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – THE 7 DEADLY SINS