What The Seven Deadly Sins In The Bible Mean — And How To Avoid Them All

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We all have a vice or bad habit of some sort that trips us up from time to time. Yours might be eating too much chocolate when stressed out, binge-watching television for an entire day in bed, or feeling jealousy towards another person.

You might call it a bad habit or a harmless desire, but according to the Christian faith, there are seven deadly sins that involve acting in excess to the point of bodily harm.

What are the seven deadly sins in the Bible?

Proverbs 6:16-19 says, "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community."

Listed in order, the seven deadly sins are:

1. Lust

2. Gluttony

3. Greed

4. Sloth

5. Wrath

6. Envy

7. Pride

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For Christians, these seven sins are transgressions that come with severe repercussions, as committing one or more is said to be detrimental to your personal relationship with God.

A sin is an act that is committed by someone when they are behaving in an immoral, disrespectful, and self-gratifying way. Sins are what keep humans in check in the eyes of the Lord.

Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," meaning that those who live their lives without God are committing mortal sin, which will lead to eternal death. However, one can avoid this by trusting in God

With that being said, let's walk through each of the seven deadly sins and break down their meanings, as well as how to avoid each. Keep in mind that some of these cardinal sins are also in the Ten Commandments.

Here are the seven deadly sins mentioned in the Bible and how to avoid each.

1. Lust

"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." — Matthew 5:28

Lust is the longing to have sexual relations or achieve sexual desires. The Lord praises chastity and wants his followers to wait until marriage before giving into sexual lust. He preaches self-control and wants us to focus our energy on helping our partner in other ways.

How to avoid the sin of lust: The best way to avoid lust with your partner is to seek out God when the desires become too strong before marriage.

2. Gluttony

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." — 1 Corinthians 10:31

Gluttony is defined by the Bible as any excessive intake of food or drink. The Lord preaches restraint to become a healthier person, restricting one's self from wasted calories and therefore making them more fit to help and serve others.

How to avoid the sin of gluttony: To prevent yourself from falling into the act of gluttony, it is best to only consume foods that will help your body thrive.

3. Greed

"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." — Luke 12:15

Greed is any need or pursuit for materialistic items. Whether it is buying something to better serve one's self or purchasing something unneeded for survival, greed is present when someone has a desire for materialistic goods.

How to avoid the sin of greed: In order to counteract greed, it is best to take on charity work and provide for those in need.

4. Sloth

"A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied." — Proverbs 13:4

Sloth is extreme laziness or someone's restraint to using their talents. In simpler terms, instead of sitting around and watching Netflix all day, it is best to get out there and put your able body to work.

How to avoid the sin of sloth: It is best to avoid the act of sloth by becoming more diligent. Put your need for relaxation aside and push yourself to make the most of your short time on Earth.

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5. Wrath

"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." — Proverbs 29:11

Wrath is any extreme anger or hatred towards a person. When you seek out hatred in your heart, it is considered to be a deadly sin.

How to avoid the sin of wrath: In order to prevent wrath from consuming your life, it is important to be patient and learn the thoughts of others. Being patient helps us understand the way others act, and therefore allows us to act with forgiveness rather than hate.

6. Envy

"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." — Proverbs 14:30

Envy is any desire to have something that another has. This envy usually comes from a materialistic item, a job opportunity, or a significant other.

How to avoid the sin of envy: Instead of longing for what another has, be thankful for the gifts you have been given. Being a kind and genuine person will allow you to put envy aside and praise the life you have been blessed with.

7. Pride

"The Lord Almighty planned it, to bring down her pride in all her splendor and to humble all who renowned on the Earth." — Isaiah 23:9

Pride is putting yourself above others and believing you are better than everyone else. It's considered to be the most dangerous of the deadly sins. If you begin to have no regard for the feelings or health of others, you are committing the sin of pride.

How to avoid the sin of pride: Boosting your sense of humility will lower the sense of pride and remove a horrible ego. Putting your pride aside will allow you to better assist God and the world around you.

What are the seven holy virtues?

The seven holy virtues are recognized by the Catholic Church, as well as Protestant and Lutheran Churches. The seven holy virtues are the opposites to each of the seven deadly sins, and each corresponds to a specific sin.

Churches consider these virtues to be "cures" for the sins:

  • Chastity cures Lust
  • Temperance cures Gluttony
  • Charity cures Greed
  • Diligence cures Sloth
  • Patience cures Wrath
  • Kindness cures Envy
  • Humility cures Pride

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Carlie Fox is a writer and former contributor to YourTango who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.