Vice Squad

This Sunday Granada begins the fall cycle of community groups. Over three hundred people have signed up to participate in over twenty groups.  The title of our new study is Character Counts. We will concentrate on putting on the character of Christ.  Our community group meetings each week will track with our weekly worship messages.  During our time together we will look closely at the Beatitudes and the Seven deadly sins.  The Beatitudes give us a bird’s eye view of the character of Christ.  The Seven Deadly Sins help us to see our sin.  Why would we want to do that?  As we look at our vices we can better understand the parts of our sinful nature we are grappling with so that we can put them to death.

The Seven Deadly Sins arose in the church during the fourth century when one of the desert fathers set down a list of eight sins that beset a man of God.  His name was Evagrius, and one of his disciples, John Cassian, boiled them down to seven and gave them a more logical order.  Now the Seven Deadly Sins are not so listed in the Bible, but each of them are well discussed in scripture. These seven were chosen for a number of reasons.  First, they were seen to be capital vices.  The word “capital” comes from the word for head.  In other words, it seemed that these vices were the headwaters of the other sins.  Pride was considered to be the root of them all, and the other six also seemed to be the fertile ground for the sprouting of other sins.  Second, Christians found the list of vices helpful for self-examination.   The goal in looking at these vices is to identify networks of sin in our lives and discover layers of sin we were not aware of.  As Rebecca DeYoung explains in her book Glittering Vices:

Rather than praying in general for forgiveness of sin, or reducing all our sin to pride or generic selfishness, we can lay specific sins before God, ask for the grace to root them out, and engage in daily disciplines–both individually and communally–that help us target them.  Naming our sins is the confessional counterpart to counting our blessings. Naming them can enrich and refresh our practices of prayer and confession and our engagement in the spiritual disciplines.

Now I don’t know about you, but I like to keep my sins in hiding.  I don’t want other people to see them, and I am blinded by them as well.  So any thought of bringing them out in the open terrifies me.  Every now and then I get a glimpse of the ugly things inside. Anger flares up.  Envy blossoms. I covet something of my neighbor’s.  I find myself resisting looking into the thing any further thinking that the problem will go away, or believing it is not so deep. Contrary to this scripture tells me that looking at the thing opens the way for healing, and that turning from it is life. Whenever I pay attention in these moments and turn to Christ, I can see healing flow.  The bondage of the thing is loosened, and I can more easily embrace the way of Jesus.

Would a check-list for self-examination assist you?  What do you see that you need to confess and turn away from? During the weeks ahead we’re going to walk on a journey of discovery together.  I hope you will come along.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Sandy on August 6, 2018 at 2:58 am

    I don’t have a “check list” but am grateful for God’s forgiveness of the known & unknown.

    Reply

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