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Sloth—the Seventh Deadly Sin

This past year, the Chicago Tribune published an interesting series on the Seven Deadly Sins. While the author wrote from a strictly secular perspective, her essays clearly illustrate the insidious ways these sins creep into our lives. In her essay titled “Sloth, the Seventh Deadly Sin, Keeps You From Becoming the Person You Could Be,” author Regina Barreca addressed the sin of sloth (or laziness):

Sloth is insidious. It whispers that you might as well do it tomorrow, that nobody will know if you cut corners here and there to save yourself some trouble, that the world will be the same in a hundred years no matter what you do, so why do anything? Sloth says, ‘Don’t strain yourself,’ ‘What’s the big hurry?’ and ‘Just give me five more minutes.’

Sloth hits the snooze alarm, hits the remote control and hits the road when the going gets tough . . . Sloth cheats on exams, drinks straight from the milk carton and leaves exactly two sheets on the toilet roll so that it will have to be replaced by the next poor soul who finds out too late that the remaining paper is nothing more than a mirage.

Sloth does slightly less than the right thing. It doesn’t bother returning something to the lost-and-found, but pockets it instead; it doesn’t tell the clerk he has undercharged. Sloth has never written a thank-you note, sent a birthday card on time or entertained angels. All of this simply takes too much effort.

Joseph Stowell, Today in the Word, July 1996, p. 2