I remember watching a film a few years ago, which was captivating and shocking. I preached about it in church at the time. With a cast of Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwynneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey, it was a very well-made film but very disturbing. A series of seven murders were committed and the detective discovered that each murder was committed with a motive of the seven deadly sins.
The seven deadly sins, as identified by Pope Gregory 1 in the late sixth century, are considered categories of the sins: pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, sloth, and greed.
The seven deadly sins are also called the seven cardinal sins—meaning, “of basic importance” or “extremely grave.” The seven deadly sins are considered to be the most basic sins that plague humanity and the sins that are most likely to beset us. Each of the seven deadly sins leads to other sins; for example, anger can lead to evil speaking, violence, or even, like in the film, murder.
In our culture we find it difficult to talk about sins, but it is always helpful to talk about what we should not be doing, so that we can correct behaviour which is wrong and leads to internal and external problems. How can these behavioural characteristics affect the way we handle our money? Here are some confessions.
1. Pride I said, “I will manage my own money in the way I like. It is a private thing. What I spend it on is my own busi9ness, and I don’t need advice from anyone else. The Bible says, ““Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
2. Envy I said, “Look at what my neighbours, friends and colleagues are able to buy. Life is giving me a bad deal. Why should they have all the luck? I can’t stand watching others prosper when I haven’t enough. I want what they have.” The Bible says, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” (Proverbs 14:30)
3. Wrath I said, “I am so mad about the way I have been treated, it makes my blood boil. I will tell him exactly what I think of him. I hate him for what he did. The Bible says: ““A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1)
4. Gluttony I said, “What else is there to spend the money on but going out drinking and spending it on good food? You can never have enough nights out with your friends. Spending is great, it gives me a high and I don’t care how much I have of anything, I can always have more.” The Bible says, ““Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19).
5. Lust I said, “I just want it and will do anything to get it. I don’t care what anyone else says, I just need it and am going after it. Sex, drugs, drink? Why not?”
The Bible says, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:15)
6. Sloth I said, “I can’t be bothered to make a budget and stick to it. Too much work. I don’t care about managing money; I just hope things will go ok.” The Bible says, “ “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19).
I said, “I want it, and I want it now – whatever it takes. I deserve it – whatever it costs.” The Bible says, ““Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:14)
I said, “Is there hope and forgiveness?” The Bible says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8,9
“Lord, I confess that I have sinned in word and deed. Create in me a clean heart, so that I can follow your ways. I will trust in you to turn these seven sins into seven virtues; faith, hope, love, wisdom, righteousness, courage and moderation.”