The Bible is full of references to sheep and shepherds, and while I didn’t raise sheep in the Holy Land, sheep are still sheep, and my experiences have helped me to understand the parallels that the biblical authors draw between sheep and his people. And let me tell you, the comparison is not always complimentary.
Why is envy green?
Envy eats vipers and the poison of her victuals accumulates and concentrates in her body till her skin erupts in green, festering blisters.
I was reading Ovid’s Metamorphoses with coffee this morning. Ovid was a Roman poet and this work is considered his magnum opus. Anyway, in book 2 there is this incredible description of Envy. Minerva is super mad at Aglauros, so she goes to Envy to ask her to curse Agrauros with a touch.
[Minerva] Then sought out Envy in her dark abode,
Defil’d with ropy gore and clots of blood:
Shut from the winds, and from the wholesome skies,
In a deep vale the gloomy dungeon lies,
Dismal and cold, where not a beam of light
Invades the winter, or disturbs the night.
Directly to the cave her course she steer’d;
Against the gates her martial lance she rear’d;
The gates flew open, and the fiend appear’d.
A pois’nous morsel in her teeth she chew’d,
And gorg’d the flesh of vipers for her food.
Minerva loathing turn’d away her eye;
The hideous monster, rising heavily,
Came stalking forward with a sullen pace,
And left her mangled offals on the place.
Soon as she saw the goddess gay and bright,
She fetch’d a groan at such a chearful sight.
Livid and meagre were her looks, her eye
In foul distorted glances turn’d awry;
A hoard of gall her inward parts possess’d,
And spread a greenness o’er her canker’d breast;
Her teeth were brown with rust, and from her tongue,
In dangling drops, the stringy poison hung.
She never smiles but when the wretched weep,
Nor lulls her malice with a moment’s sleep,
Restless in spite: while watchful to destroy,
She pines and sickens at another’s joy;
Foe to her self, distressing and distrest,
She bears her own tormentor in her breast.
The Greeks and the Romans had a penchant for personifying emotions and ideas. Personification is a figure of speech were objects and ideas are given human qualities or are represented in human form. Ovid takes the human emotion, envy, and makes it into a person–Envy.
What attracted me to this representation of Envy is that it struck me as true. I’ve seen this creature before, not only in others but in myself as well. It will do us well to look take a careful look at her in order to know the effects of her touch.
The Deep Cover of Envy
Envy’s dwelling is hidden in a “deep vale.”
The vice, envy, is also hidden. Envy is different than the other deadly sins. It is fairly easy to see Wrath and Gluttony, and we aren’t all that embarrassed by them. Some, like Greed and Pride, are even celebrated in our culture–even Lust is celebrated today. But not Envy. We don’t want any one to see our envy. To show envy we’d be admitting that we feel inferior. Envy is so petty. We know it’s petty, and we are embarrassed by it.
Envy personified in hidden away in a dark and “gloomy dungeon” where the air is stagnant; it is “dismal and cold.”
The Envy is Poison
Envy gorges on “the flesh of vipers.” Her appetites are both glutenous and foul. Her heavy rising suggests she is not wasting away, but this is poisoned food. The toxins from the vipers feeds her malice which bubbles in “greenness o’er her canker’d breast.”
As with the diet of Envy personified, the emotion of envy is nourishing as well–we take a small comfort in the misery of others. But this comfort is toxic. The one who envies is in the hideous state of being eaten while eating.
Shakespeare and Ovid are on the same page here:
“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”
Envy is Different
All the other seven-deadly-sins involve some element of pleasure for the sinner. Not so with envy. Not only do you not enjoy the sin, but the very nature of envy also makes you unable to enjoy the good things you do have. You can’t enjoy your beauty, wealth, strength, intelligence because someone else is more beautiful, richer, stronger, or smarter.
Envy enjoys nothing–she doesn’t enjoy her food; she doesn’t enjoy the beauty of her visitor; she never even enjoys the pleasure of taking a little nap once in a while.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”All the other seven-deadly-sins involve some element of pleasure for the sinner. Not so with envy. Not only do you not enjoy the sin, but the very nature of envy also makes you unable to enjoy the good things you do have.” quote=”All the other seven-deadly-sins involve some element of pleasure for the sinner. Not so with envy. Not only do you not enjoy the sin, but the very nature of envy also makes you unable to enjoy the good things you do have.”]
Envy is immortal, but what happens when she touches you?
Minerva commands Envy to destroy Aglauros, and she does so with a touch. Here’s what happens:
To execute Minerva’s dire command,
She stroak’d the virgin with her canker’d hand,
Then prickly thorns into her breast convey’d,
That stung to madness the devoted maid:
Her subtle venom still improves the smart,
Frets in the blood, and festers in the heart.
To make the work more sure, a scene she drew,
And plac’d before the dreaming virgin’s view
Her sister’s marriage, and her glorious fate:
Th’ imaginary bride appears in state;
The bride-groom with unwonted beauty glows:
For envy magnifies what-e’er she shows.
Full of the dream, Aglauros pin’d away
In tears all night, in darkness all the day;
Consum’d like ice, that just begins to run,
When feebly smitten by the distant sun;
Or like unwholsome weeds, that set on fire
Are slowly wasted, and in smoke expire.
Argros is destroyed by envy of her sister’s marriage–something one would hope would make her happy. Instead, because of envy, she pines away. Melts like ice on a sunny day. Burns up like dry grass in a fire.
Dealing With Envy
Worship of God takes care of envy. By this, I do not necessarily mean singing praise and worship songs in church.
Experience of God’s love and grace erases envy. Where do you experience these things? Songs? Maybe you do. I don’t.
I get it from Word and Sacrament.
But let me focus briefly on the sacrament of communion. In The Lord’s Supper, Christ extends his hand to us and gives us the sacrifice of his body and blood. His death erases my sin and brings me into the family of the Heavenly Father. Nothing is required of me except to accept the offer of this incredible gift. I get so much, for so little.
In the light of the overwhelming Grace of God, how can I be harbour resentment for someone is smarter, or more beautiful, or more wealthy than I am?
A lot of Christians talk about a void in every person that can only be filled by God. We are compelled to fill it, but we will never achieve peace /fulfillment /wholeness unless this space is filled with God. This “God-shaped hole” is an innate human desire to connect with the transcendent.
It’s a cliché. And like most clichés, it’s an oversimplification, but it carries some truth. Human beings have desires. Besides physical needs and desires–we were created for relationships, we were created for community, and we were created to be in relationship with God. To say that all we need is God is to deny the other good things he created us to desire and enjoy. These ought not to be tossed aside, but understood as good gifts from a loving Father. But, yes, our most profound desire is to know and be known by God.
For this post, I am borrowing from Tim Keller, particularly his book Counterfeit God’s and a lecture of the same name that he delivered at Cambridge Passion.
In his exploration of idolatry, Keller differentiates good things and ultimate things.
Good Things and God, The Ultimate
God created everything, and he declared them to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The list of good things is obviously very long and it includes:
- romantic love,
- and cherry trees.
The list goes on and on.
Above all these good things, God places humanity. Humanity occupies this place above the good things because we alone were created in God’s image. Here’s the text which articulates humanities special position in creation, above all the good things.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Innate value has been conferred onto human beings by God. Our value is linked to God. In a properly ordered life or society, God is the Ultimate thing. Human beings occupy a position above all the good things because they were created in God’s Image. All the other good things are good, but they do not have more value than God or humanity.
Augustine called sin “disordered love.” Sin is, in essence, replacing God with something else. We take a good thing and make it the ultimate thing; we replace the Creator with the created. The good thing in the ascendant position is an idol.
Career advancement is a common idol in our culture. There’s nothing wrong with career advancement–it is a good thing–but when it becomes an ultimate thing, all other things must give way to it. The marriage and the children will be sacrificed to it. “Friends” becomes a name for those who can be used to aid advancement while others will be treated as rungs on a ladder. Idols are very demanding overlords, they take and they want it all.
Beauty is a good thing. And it is another common idol. it demands huge amounts of money and often ones dignity, and it always fails those who worship it–we cannot stop beauty from fading.
Family is a good thing, but it is a terrible master.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace is one of my favourite books. It could only come from a brilliant and tortured mind. His “This is Water” commencement speech to Kenyon College class of 2005, presents some of the wisdom Wallace has aquired through his struggles. In this passage he explains the problem with false gods:
You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship… Because here’s something else that’s true. In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship-be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles-is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things-if they are where you tap real meaning in life-then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already-it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power-you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart-you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on. Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default-settings.
(If you listen to the whole speech, you will hear Wallace come dangerously close to pointing to a realignment of our loves under the transcendent god, for our sake and for the sake of others around us.)
Whatever your idol, it will eventually eat you alive.
God-shaped hole? We should maybe stop using the phrase, but behind this cliche is the idea that everything you desires will destroy if they are put into the position of a god. Conversely, if you subordinate all your desires to Christ’s Lordship, you will achieve the peace and fulfillment and wholeness you seek, because it was for Christ you were made.
For the last few years, Abbotsford Christian School has selected a theme song. We regularly sing this song in our chapels at all three campuses. This year our school’s theme song is “Lions” by Skillet. “Be Bold,” an idea derived from this song, is the topic we will explore in our chapels this year at the high school.
The Lion Attitude
Courage, Strength, Leadership, Bravery are characteristics that are strongly associated with lions. The connection between lions and courage are central to many of the motivational speeches I found on YouTube. And there are a bunch of them! If you can handle speakers yelling at you for 6 minutes straight, you’ve got to listen to this video called “The Lion Attitude.” If you get tired of the yelling, the first 2:53 seconds will be enough.
The lion that is presented in this, and all the other video clips, is different than the actual creature that roams the plains of Africa. The speaker is talking about this imaginary lion when he tells us we need to be like one.
“You tread your own path. Only you know what’s best for you. Only you know what path to take.”
Real lions survive by interdependence within the group or pride. They often work together to bring down large game.
The motivational speaker makes other false claims:
“Real lions, they are hungry when the time comes for their mission. Lions are not followers; they are leaders, who lead the rest of the animals.”
Real lions go hunting when they are hungry
when the time comes for their mission. Most Lions are notfollowers; they are not leaders but work together, to who leadeat the rest of the animals, all of them.
So my question is, “How am I supposed to walk like a lion, when real lions don’t even walk like lions?” If the lion attitude really was everything, one would think that at least lions would have it.
“Attitude is Everything”?
Attitude is everything in life . . . whether you rise or fall, everything is based on the attitude that you showed at that moment. Your attitude determines your altitude.
This is Cody, from Disney’s The Rescuers Down Under. Cody is falling off of a cliff.
Does Cody have an attitude problem? If he had a better attitude, would he cease to fall off this cliff? Does attitude really determine his altitude? Or does altitude determine his attitude? He’s way up there, but I’m sure he’s not too happy about altitude right now.
You need the lion attitude to take charge of your destiny. You need the lion attitude that says, “I CAN.” You need the lion attitude, the attitude that says, “I WILL.”
Will a change in attitude change Cody’s destiny? Will he soar on eagles wings if only he screams, “I WILL soar like an eagle”?
Although our motivational speaker sounds convincing, our experience with life tells us that he’s full of malarkey. Attitude clearly isn’t everything.
More Important Than Attitude
Attitude is important.
Attitude will certainly contribute to worldly success and success in school. But it will also help with success in things that give us deeper fulfillment–success in relationships, in loving our neighbours, in obedience to God and in his purposes.
But where does the right attitude come from? It doesn’t come from thinking that you are something you are not–a lion, an eagle, an infallible human being who is able to defy the laws of nature or our fallen nature.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Attitude brings about success, but what brings about Attitude?” quote=”Attitude brings about success, but what brings about Attitude?”]
How can we be bold like a lion and soar like an eagle?
Disney, perhaps accidentally, gives us the beginnings of a very good answer in this clip from The Rescuers Down Under.
In this clip, Cody falls twice–but his attitude is very different the second time.
Cody can’t fly. On his own, he’s doomed to plummet to his death–both times. But the second time, he knows something he didn’t know before.
His attitude is different, not because of what he can do. His abilities or attitude won’t save him. He must look outside of himself. His new attitude comes from his faith in the eagle. He’s got his arms spread out, but he’s not flying on his own power. It’s not a quality within himself, like attitude, that he trusts in.
His trust in the eagle gives him the attitude.
Skillet’s song gets at exactly this:
If we’re gonna fly, we fly like eagles
Arms out wide
If we’re gonna fear, we fear no evil
We will rise
By your power, we will go
By your spirit, we are bold
If we’re gonna stand, we stand as giants
If we’re gonna walk, we walk as lions
We walk as lions
It’s hard to be bold, when you are not an eagle or a lion. It can be hard to:
- Be a friend.
- Be involved.
- Challenge an idea.
- Resist peer pressure.
- Say, “No.”
- Say, “Yes.”
- Be generous.
- Do the right thing.
But it’s a lot easier if we are not relying on ourselves.
How do we fly like eagles?
We put our hope and trust, in the courage, strength, and power of the eagle in Isaiah 40:31
Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
How do we walk like lions?
By putting our faith in the lion of Revelation 5:5
The lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has won the victory!
We know we are inadequate, but we can still be bold because it’s not by our power that we will succeed.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”How do we fly like eagles? We put our hope and trust, in the courage, strength, and power of the eagle in Isaiah 40:31 ” quote=”How do we fly like eagles? We put our hope and trust, in the courage, strength, and power of the eagle in Isaiah 40:31″]
Do you want a stronger marriage? I attended the wedding of a friend last weekend. The message was very short, but beautiful and, to be honest, nothing more needed to be said.
Everyone who has been married knows that living in such close proximity with another sinner is bound to bring out ones limitations. How are we to deal with these newly discovered or amplified imperfections in our spouse?
The pastor suggested that it’s the imperfections in each other that give us the opportunity to demonstrate God’s love to each other. Here is what he said:
Slowness of others gives us the chance to show patience
The mistakes and wrongdoings allow us the opportunity to forgive
A place of leadership creates avenues to elevate others
The possessions and the talents of others give us the chance not to envy
Our own abilities and successes allow us the chance to restrain boasting
The imperfect people that make up the church give each other many opportunities to love each other. Without the imperfections, there would be no way to see the fullness of God’s love at work. In a strange way, brokenness is the blessing that allows God’s love to shine through. You already have gifts and you already have a desire to see God’s people succeed. Stay the course. Continue to love by using the gifts you have to serve one another and to serve his people. In this way, God is honoured and your relationship will be hope giving for a world looking for something truly unique.
[tweetshare tweet=”In a strange way, brokenness is the blessing that allows God’s love to shine through. ” username=”Dryb0nz”]
Because I dabble in philosophical questions, I sometimes make comments that don’t go down very well at parties: I suggested that I thought human beings are naturally evil. There was some disagreement, and then all conversation, as it always does, turned to Donald Trump.
There’s quite a bit of evidence that human beings are naturally evil–watch the evening news or read the comments on pretty much any post where someone offers an opinion. But there’s also quite a bit of evidence that people are basically good. Everyone knows lots of people who are good and not too many who are bad–bank robbers and such. I know lots of people who are good too.
The Ringelblum Archive
I picked up a book in Warsaw at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The book contains excerpts from The Ringelblum Archive, a collection of documents and testimonies collected by Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum and his team of researchers between September 1939 and January 1943. Dr. Ringelblum did not survive, but his collection did.
In one interview a man named Aron Einhorn says,
It is difficult to say whether this moral swamp which we see around us nowadays is the result of the abnormal conditions prevailing in the ghetto, or whether the ghetto uncovered that which had previously been covered up, masked.
He goes on to describe this “moral swamp” of thefts, looting, cheating, cruelty, indifference, oppression, and corruption.
They Used to Be Good
The ghetto was filled with a large proportion of people who used to be good. They were good because they had homes, clothing, food, and hope. Many had money, respect, freedom, and safety. It’s easy to be “good” when you have these things. When these things were taken from them, or at least became scarce, their true nature came out to the surface.
When I look around my community, I see a lot of good people. I also see a lot of people who have homes, clothing, food, safety, and hope. Many have money, respect, and freedom. But are they really good?
[click_to_tweet tweet=”We are so individualistic that we actually think we will be judged only for the sins we commit. #GodsJudgement #totaldepravity #morality #evil” quote=”We are so individualistic that we actually think we will be judged only for the sins we commit.”]
Am I Really Good?
Am I really good? If I’m honest, there’s some self-centeredness slithering around inside me, but I’m not too bad. As I walked around the area that was once the Warsaw Ghetto and stood at the site where the residents of the ghetto were put on trains bound for Treblinka, I wondered what I would have done if I had lived there in 1942. I’d like to think I would have been good, but there’s a very good chance I would not have impressed Aron Einhorn.
If the Bible is right, we are naturally evil, and we will be judged accordingly. What people don’t realize is that we will not be judged by what we’ve done. It’s not what we do that is the issue, it’s who we are. What I would have done had I lived in the Warsaw Ghetto is a much better indicator of who I really am, than living in my townhouse near a lovely golf course. I will be judged for who I am.
This is pretty scary, but if the Bible is right, there’s also some good news–the best news. It’s been arranged that, if you want, you can be judged as if your very nature were perfect and someone else will take the judgment that your actual nature deserves. You need only ask him to take your place.
They say that you learn the most about yourself and that God does most of his sanctifying work during the rough times. Enough time has passed for me to have done some reflecting about what God was teaching me during those years when my life was turned upside-down.
One of the things I learned was fearlessness.
I think, before, I must have been scared of a lot of things. I was scared that I would go to the doctor and be told I had only six months to live. I was scared that one of my kids would die. I was scared that my wife would leave me.
I suppose I was really hoping that I could live a charmed life and nothing bad would happen to me. If I think carefully about this attitude, I think I made an idol out of the charmed life. Deep down I didn’t trust this idol, hence the fear. When the tragedy eventually struck my idol was shown to be the fraud it was.
Consequently, I’m not nearly as fearful as I used to be because I now know that God is bigger than the things I feared before and I can trust him. He was faithful, and true to his promises.
We live in a culture of tolerance.
Consequently, we don’t like the idea of a judgemental God. We don’t like a God that draws a clear line between right and wrong and then judges the wrong. Many reject a judgemental God. They just want a God of love.
But deep down, we all want a God of justice. And love.
The God of Justice
When we look at the cosmos we see that God is as creative as he is powerful. And he must like human beings a lot because he gives us all sorts of good things: love, food, sex, sunsets, beaches, oranges and wine.
God is perfect justice.
This is usually only a stumbling block to those who experience no true injustice.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”The people who are repelled by the idea of a just God are often people who have never experienced any significant injustice. ” quote=”The people who are repelled by the idea of a just God are often people who have never experienced any significant injustice. “]
Who loves Divine Judgement?
Consider all the crap that some people have to live with at the hands of others; then the God of justice moves from an embarrassment to a necessity to get up in the morning.
It is definitely wrong to machine gun children, or to rape teenaged girls and string them up in a tree to taunt their grieving, and helpless father or to force women and children into sexual, or any other kind of, slavery. You know that people do these things, right? If one’s life is filled with this kind of injustice, justice isn’t so easy to dismiss and the God who is justice isn’t so easy to reject.
God is Love
He’s also perfect love. Yeah, I know, perfect justice AND perfect love? How do you put those things together?
Well, if there truly is a God, I think it’s reasonable to expect that there’d be some things that would be, intellectually, a little hard to grasp.
He knew it was hard to grasp so he showed us what it looks like–his son on the cross–he judged Jesus as if he were us (justice), and then he treats us as if we were Jesus (love). Perfect justice and perfect love are right there at the cross. It’s pretty clear that he will do anything and everything to bring you into a relationship with him. Everything, that is, except force you to be in a relationship with him. That’s perfect love.
So if you are rejecting God, walk away from the one who heals the sick and blesses the poor, away from the one who eats with prostitutes and then lifts up those that are abused and seats them at the best seats at his table. The one who will bring justice to those who use people like objects and to those self-righteous folk who already have everything that they are going to get, away from the one can only woo you to him with the sacrifice of his love, and who loves you so much he won’t force you.
Human beings always serve something.
We always put something in the centre of our life, a thing against which we measure all other things. Perhaps it’s an ideology or a religion or a nation or a cause. Or partying or sex or work. Maybe the arts or sports or fine food and fast cars. Even abstract concepts like freedom or charity or happiness.
Today I heard on the radio that the highest value was “universal human rights.”
We make gods of things.
And it’s dehumanizing.
Idolatry and Dehumanization
If you make a thing more important than human beings, you have made humanity a lesser thing.
- Religion says that the needs of the god are more important than those of humanity.
- Nationalism means that the nation is more important than human beings.
- If I worship sex, getting some is more important than the person I’m getting it with.
- If freedom is the most important thing, then we sacrifice some people on the alters of that freedom.
- If you are committed to your own personal flourishing, that of others is subjugated.
We seem to know innately that it is inappropriate to make the value of a human being less than that of a thing.
Innate Human Value
A human being is inherently valuable.
Freedom, nation, happiness, sex, sports, arts, and charity are all good things, but when one of them is made into the ultimate thing, we start to see problems. When humanity is dethroned as the most important thing and replaced by some good, but lesser thing–political power, pleasure, peace, elimination of murder, and long life.
Bad things happen when we make good things into ultimate things. Good things are ill-suited to occupy the position of a god.
Surrendering to an object or an idea is dehumanizing. The only possible way to serve something, which is part of our nature, and avoid dehumanization at the same time, is to surrender to another person.
You might object that surrendering to another human being can also be dehumanizing. This is true, there are a lot of one-sided relationships where people that are happy to take whatever they can get from you and give very little in return, and they end up being the only ones that are thriving. This is usually (always?) because they are serving a thing or an idea.
There are other relationships based on sacrificial love, they are far from dehumanizing–these are actually humanizing. We have this for our children–we give far more than we receive, and we don’t care because we are so interested in their flourishing. Some marriages are like this, thankfully mine is one of these, where both put the other’s needs ahead of their own. You give a lot in these relationships, but by some magic, you get back so much more than you give up.
This is was what we were made for, that’s why we flourish by these relationships.
The Truely Humanizing Relationship
Human beings were not only created to have relationships with each other, but also with God. Not God as an idea, but as a person. The God of the Bible was always a personal God, but when he became human, he got way more personal.
Submission to him isn’t dehumanizing, first of all, because he is a person. But also because he’s not one of those gods–like Baal, Nation or Universal Human Rights–who demands we conform our lives to his desires in order to gain acceptance. Rather he conformed to us by becoming human and then dying for his enemies (myself included), and while we tortured and killed him he forgave us.
What can we do but respond to this grace with a life of gratitude?
If you are going to serve, and you certainly will serve something, it might as well be to the God who served you first. Not just because it makes sense, but because it was for this relationship that we were made.
It wasn’t very long ago that all the worst sins were the sexual ones — adultery, homosexuality, abortion. These were the activities, it was thought, in which the worst sinners regularly engaged. For many, the term “immorality” has a sexual connotation.
This is a problem. I think our pastors recognize that placing sexual sins at the top of the hierarchy is not Biblical–a distortion of the gospel. I have heard a lot of sermons over the past few years that contextualize the sexual sins — emphasizing that these are no worse than any other sins, like greed or gluttony.
I was fully on board with this leveling of sins until I came across a quote from C.S. Lewis. He reestablishes a hierarchy.
Not only that, he puts sexual sins on the bottom. Here’s the passage:
If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins…. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
This is all very inconvenient. I was feeling rather proud of my progress against sexual sin.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”We’ve heard it said that all sins are equal. It turns out that this is not the case; there is one that is worse than all the rest. And it’s one of mine. #Pride #Sin” quote=”We’ve heard it said that all sins are equal. It turns out that this is not the case; there is one that is worse than all the rest. And it’s one of mine.”]