Our last blog looked at the three types of relationships that sin destroys: your relationship with God, your relationship with others, and your relationship with yourself. Thus, sin at its core relates to a breaching of community. According to Christian Schwarz, the seven deadly sins can be best understood as the absence of the corresponding communal qualities. This can be seen by comparing the two diagrams below.

 

Eight Quality Characteristics

 

Seven Deadly Sins

 

While each of the quality characteristics is meant to guide us into a healthier, more vital realtionship with God, others, and ourselves, sin sends the opposite message. That is, sin points us to only ourselves–and not in a healthy way!

Quality Characteristic Motto Sin Motto
PRIDE is the absence of EMPOWERING LEADERSHIP Let others grow. I am better than anyone and everyone else.
GLUTTONY is the absence EFFECTIVE STRUCTURES Live in moderation. I have to fill myself.
ENVY is the absence of GIFT-BASED MINISTRY I depend on others. I deserve the same as everyone else.
GREED is the absence of NEED-ORIENTED EVANGELISM Pass on what you have received. I need more for myself.
ANGER is the absence of LOVING RELATIONSHIPS. Break down the barriers that separate. I hate my offender.
SLOTH is the absence of PASSIONATE SPIRITUALITY Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. I don’t care about anything.
LUST is the absence of INSPIRING WORSHIP Direct your full devotion to the Lord. I use others for my own exatation.

There are other typologies for understanding the concept of sin. However, within the NCD paradigm, we choose to use this specific typology because many other sins trace their source to these fundamental seven sins.

What happens when you identify one of these sins present in the lives of someone in your comminity? Or, even closer to home, what happens when you commit one of these sins? As we continue this blog series, we will cover each sin in turn, discussing how to address each sin and examining its remedy (i.e., the correspending quality characteristic).

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