The Deadliest Sin

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Hey TD!

What sins are you battling in your life right now?  That’s not even really the right question, for there’s only one real over-arching sin: defiance of God and His authority over us.  However, there are many expressions of that sin.  And that may be the more precise question.  Which expressions of defiance of God are you battling with now?  They come in all shapes and sizes.

In this latest episode of the TD Commotion (our shorter topical podcasts), there is one in particular that Eunice wants to talk to you about that may well be at the root of many of your sinful expressions. Some call it … the deadliest sin.  It’s worth the 4 minutes!  Please listen and consider. – Arthur

The Deadliest Sin

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7 thoughts on “The Deadliest Sin

  1. Spolier Alert, don’t read if you haven’t heard the clip.

    Interesting reading, but what about self-righteousness? At least the sloth can be prodded and imbued a spirit of life, but on the other hand it is harder to pry out that mask of thinking that my works/thoughts are good enough to render myself righteous.

    BUT

    I guess at the end of the clip when Eunice said that the spirit of the sloth may also have a mask of a busy life, it makes sense that the sloth spirit is equally as challenging to overcome.

    • Hey, Sean!

      Hah, thanks for putting that “spoiler alert” for your fellow bloggers!

      That is an interesting question. I love how Dorothy Sayers’ words are prompting you to ask such a pointed question. I find that writers like her and C.S. Lewis are helpful in that regard – they challenge us to move beyond a simplistic interpretation of Scripture and life at large to a more complex, more colorful and (I think) more faithful one. They prompt us to take Reality as it is rather than fitting life into our created categories.

      Something that I find fascinating about this piece by Dorothy Sayers is that she recognizes that sins conspire with each other. For example, in her longer speech (which I quoted from), she talks about how sloth and envy can conspire together to prevent us from thinking. Let me extend Sayers’ logic – could sloth conspire with pride? We just need to recall the last time we sinned to realize that we’re far from being truly and independently righteous. What keeps us from coming to grips with the fact that our works are not up to par to God’s standards? Maybe it could be that we’re too apathetic, lifeless and slothful to consider and accept it? Yikes!

      I can’t speak definitively on Sayers’ behalf, so I can’t really answer your question. As you can see, I’ll gladly ask questions alongside you, especially as we resist the deceitfulness of sin from hardening our hearts … and emptying our brains!

      Thinking alongside you,
      Eunice

      • Thanks for your thoughts, Sean and Eunice! I really enjoyed thinking about this and reading these comments. This all makes so much sense. I would have never thought that Sloth might be the “deadliest” of sins. What a scary and convicting thought!

      • Another thought…if we focus too much on one sin and singling it out as one we’ve triumphed over, I think that’s also very dangerous if we ignore everything else. What I mean is it’s key to name the sins specifically but if we reduce “sinning” to a set of wrongdoings and not the big picture of our moral state then we are contributing to the misunderstanding that the world has on our faith.

      • It took me awhile but I honestly did not “get it” at all for awhile. Some of it started coming together this morning as I got into my car.

        After reading your guys’ thoughts, I started thinking it was actually very rare that any of those sins AREN’T conspiring with one another. I’m starting to suspect that they are flatmates or at least live on the same floor. If we have to label and specify types I feel I can almost always say that there are several things in play. I’m not sure exactly what she means when she says conspire but it also seems as if certain sins have us in a state that leaves us more vulnerable to other ones. A prideful person is likely to grow envious because they believe they deserve what someone else has and in a particular situation it may be an object that inspires lust which boils over into a state of greed that wants more than its fair share and when it doesn’t receive it the heart grows angry and then indifferent and then…sloth. I didn’t know how to squeeze gluttony in.

        I really like what Sean says because I find that while these categories of sins can be helpful in understanding what is happening, they can be misleading and cause us to miss the big picture. Do we battle pride as if it’s some weird outside force or do we remember that we are waging war against something that is leftover as a part of ourselves.

        On the other hand, I think I finally “got it.” It sounds as if sloth is so deadly because it is almost an absence of life in and of itself. We have to be blind to some very important realities in order for us to check out with the kind of attitude that we might describe as slothful. It’s a subtle (or not) contradiction of 1 Cor 10:31 as a life verse not because it chooses the wrong activity but because it misses the verb “do.” Or when we “do” but do slothfully we give what is obviously less than our best. I know God is supposed to be our audience but I think there’s a special kind of problem when even the people around us can identify a lackluster effort.

    • Melody,
      Thanks for considering these thoughts! It is pretty humbling to consider sin from this angle, huh? : [ Sayers got me re-thinking about how I categorize a truly ‘lazy’ person versus a truly ‘active and alive’ person.

      Sean, that’s a fair point. Even after we pinpoint a sin, I don’t think we could ever conquer it! Although we are freed from the bondage of sin through Christ, we still feel the power of sin and live with the effects of sin around and within us. I’ve also found that different fractures within our soul show up at different times and under different pressures. I don’t quite agree on the implications of your second point – that it’s wrong to pinpoint certain actions with certain sins. Do you have an example of what you’re referring to…?

      Francis, you hit it on the nail towards the end of your thought process! I found that point to be so illuminating. Laziness or sloth is not a lack of physical activity or busyness; it’s the lack of true life, true thoughts, true affections, true desires… I wonder what a local fitness instructor or a busy business executive would think about that!

      • I don’t mean it’s always wrong to specify sinning as a set violations. But if we are defining “sin” as just that, we would fuel the fire of people’s negative sentiments towards God. The world thinks it is unfair for Him to just elect people no matter what kind or amount of immoral acts they do in their lives. Instead, people need to understand that it is our spiritual brokenness and heart of rebellion (that leads to those sets of violations) that is the reason why we should live an afterlife apart from Him. We have no right to be living right now either. Salvation is all grace. We need to come to grips with this to explain situations that result in feelings like “but this guy doesn’t deserve to be saved because he murdered 5 million people over three decades, but this other guy on the other hand does because he grew up in a small village in Africa with little food and water.” In fact their initial placement before God is quite equal compared to the enormity of our “falling short of the glory of God.”

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