We all experience them at one time or another in our lives; sins that cause us stress and unrest. Sometimes we are aware of them and at other times we are not. If we are aware of what they are and how they affect us, we can better deal with them. In this awareness we can retain our peace and reduce our stress levels.
Lust can lead to envy, jealousy and adultery. We tend to lust after something we yearn for or cannot have. Lust can lead to adultery and pornography, which leaves our soul in a state of guilt and unrest. Chastity is the solution. We need to keep ourselves from being put in a position that leads us into temptation to sin.
GREED & GLUTTONY
This is to consume more than we need. It can be seen as a companion to lust.
When we seek to buy more than we can afford, we find ourselves in debt. When we consume more food than we should, we have health problems. The solution to this is to exercise a giving heart. To think less of what we can get for ourselves and think more of what we can give to others. Charity is the key.
Sloth can be the result of gluttony. When we consume more food than we need, we tend to put on weight and feel sluggish, lazy and lacking in energy. When we adapt a rebellious streak, we do what we want to do instead of what we need to do. We tend to take the easy way out instead of putting in the energy and time to succeed at something. The solution is holding ourselves accountable for the time we spend, and having a healthy balance of exercise, work and play. Keeping a diary helps us to set discipline and structure in our lives. It also helps us to set goals and look forward to having positive dreams and visions for the future.
This is where anger gets the better of us. It usually occurs when we are on edge, stressed out and burdened. We can be like a dormant volcano. When something triggers our anger, the volcano erupts. Suppressed emotions can be that trigger, or issues from our past that we have not dealt with. It also could stem from being physically abused as a child. Whatever it is there are ways of dealing with it: exercise, counselling, meditating and praying. I found temporarily walking away from the situation to take a walk or pray helps. It diffuses the negative outcome that results from ‘fighting back’ or seeking revenge.
ENVY & JEALOUSY
Envy and jealousy are negative twins that cause division in our community. It can derive from pride. Sometimes we are not happy with ourselves and not content with what we have. We secretly envy the successes of others and wonder why we are not like others. This can lead to self destruction. We need to realise we were created to be different, to have different personalities, talents and gifts. It is what makes us so special and unique. Once we learn to love ourselves, yet not to be vain, we truly can appreciate who we are. When we accept our situation and seek to be positive through it, we will be strengthened by the experience.
There will always be another more successful than us, but there is only one of us.
This stems from our ego. It’s the opposite of humility and is the downfall of our humanity. There is a positive and a negative side to pride. We can be proud of a work well done, or we can think ourselves better than everyone else. Pride can stop us from accepting help from others, and prevent a giver from being blessed.
Pride also tempts us to judge others harshly. Overcoming pride is to exercise humility. It is to love others and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Being humble is not a sign of weakness, but it is a strength. When I am humbled, I find my strength in God. When I am down, the only way to look is up.
POSITIVE OUT OF NEGATIVE
God can bring a positive out of our sins. We can learn from our mistakes and grow in wisdom. When we repent of our failures, we experience God’s grace for the future. We learn to love instead of lust. We become merciful and compassionate to those who struggle with sin. We use our life’s experiences to reach out to others, and find deep peace from doing so. Let’s not allow sin to get the better of us, but allow ourselves to get better in spite of it.