More than Laziness: The Deadly Sin of Sloth — Vintage Church of New Orleans (2023)

Over the past several weeks, we’ve looked at three of the Seven Deadly Sins, including pride, envy, and wrath. Today we’re tackling sloth. For most of us, sloth is not one of those sins we think about often. In fact, sloth might be a something we never even considered a sin. Some of us might be asking ourselves, “what does it mean to commit the sin of sloth?” While we might have questions and doubts about the sin of sloth, the Bible and the church throughout history have discussed this sin regularly.

What Is the Sin of Sloth?

For those who have heard the term “sloth” before, you probably think of physical laziness. While laziness is certainly an element of sloth, there’s more to this sin than just laziness. In Hit List, Brian Hedges defines the sin of sloth with four characteristics: (1) carelessness, (2) unwillingness to act, (3) half-hearted effort, and (4) becoming easily discouraged by any possible difficulty.1 If you weren’t sure what the sin of sloth was before, I’m certain you have a better idea now.

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In our day and age, many of us are incredibly busy. In fact, often times when I ask someone how they are doing, this is their response: “I’m so busy right now!” Sadly, this is often my response as well. We feel as though we are constantly busy, and for many of us, we are busy. So, when we ask ourselves, “Am I struggling with the sin of sloth?”, we immediately say no because it is physically impossible for us to be lazy. However, if sloth is more than just being lazy, all of us should consider how we might be struggling with the sin of sloth in our own lives.

Diagnosing Sloth

Am I careless? Proverbs 24:33-34 says, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” All of us need rest, but has our rest turned into negligence? Have we begun to not care and not give our best effort in whatever life circumstance that comes our way? When we become careless, we become like the man in Proverbs 24. Think through your life. How have you become careless in your relationship with God? Your relationship with your wife and children? Your job?

Am I unwilling to act? Have I begun to procrastinate? Proverbs 20:4 says, “The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.” If we are unwilling to act we cannot expect to necessarily complete the tasks we must do and have the things we need. Procrastination is a real temptation for all of us. Tasks are often so overwhelming that we keep putting things off until it becomes practically impossible to finish what we need to on time. Student, are you procrastinating on your homework and projects? Parent, are you putting off that conversation you need to have with you child? When we are unwilling to act, we commit the sin of sloth.

Do I do everything with a half-hearted effort? Sometimes we have so much to do that we do not do everything with excellence. Our priorities get out of whack and we spend more time and energy on our job than we do with our relationship with God or our families. Much of our problem with half-hearted effort is not because we are lazy, but because we have done a terrible job of prioritizing our life. A friend of mine often says a person can only have five priorities at a time. Look at your life and list out your priorities. Do you have more than five? Perhaps much of our problem with giving a half-hearted effort is our inability to say no.

Am I discouraged in the face of every difficulty? Life is full of difficulties. No one, including God, ever promised that life would be easy. Discouragement in the face of difficult situations is a reality we all have to deal with; however, potential difficulties cannot paralyze us from action. Sometimes past difficult situations cause us to fear the unknown, inhibiting us from any sort of future action. We must be resolved to know that difficulties will continue to come and that we can work through these difficult circumstances.

Combatting the Sin of Sloth

How can we combat the sin of sloth in our life? I want to encourage you in two ways:

  1. Don’t quit. Life can be difficult, but this does not mean we quit. The Bible constantly calls us to persevere in all areas of life. When you begin to think, “This is too much, I’m too tired to keep going, I’m quitting,” remember these thoughts are not from God. God has called us to persevere and has given us his Spirit to help us in this pursuit. When life gets tough, remember God’s presence is with you, and because of this, you can persevere!
  2. Do Everything for the Glory of God. In two places, Paul reminds us that in whatever we do, we do it for the glory of God. In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul says, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Colossians 3:17 says, “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” We must remember our lives are not about us; they are about God. How we live our lives matters. We do not live for ourselves but rather fro God. When you begin to battle sloth, remember everything you do is for the glory of God.

Check out some of the previous posts on the Seven Deadly Sins:

1Brian G. Hedges, Hit List: Taking Aim at the Seven Deadly Sins (Minneapolis: Cruciform, 2014), 63.


What is the sin of sloth in the Catholic Church? ›

In his Pocket Catholic Dictionary, the late Jesuit Fr. John Hardon defined sloth as “sluggishness of soul or boredom because of the exertion necessary for the performance of a good work. The good work may be a corporal task, such as walking; or a mental exercise, such as writing; or a spiritual duty, such as prayer.”

What is the lazy 7 deadly sin? ›

Sloth has also been defined as a failure to do things that one should do, though the understanding of the sin in antiquity was that this laziness or lack of work was simply a symptom of the vice of apathy or indifference, particularly an apathy or boredom with God.

What are the seven deadly sins in order sloth? ›

According to Roman Catholic theology, the seven deadly sins are the seven behaviours or feelings that inspire further sin. They are typically ordered as: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

What is the difference between sloth and laziness? ›

Sloth and laziness, are voluntary, with this difference, that sloth, implies, utter in|activity, an absolute aversion to work; laziness, an inclination, but, a fear of trou|ble and fatigue: whereas, sluggishness, is, often, involuntary; proceeding, sometimes, from constitution, and, is discovered, by its dull, heavy ...

What is the punishment for the slothful? ›

The punishment for the sin of sloth is to be thrown into a pit of snakes. For Trent's punishment, the Executioner stalked him while he was hunting and shot at him several times. Eventually leading him to a trap in the middle of the forest— a large hole covered by a thin cover and leaves.

Why is sloth the worst sin? ›

Sloth is generally an unconscious sin, insidious and pernicious and extremely dangerous for the health of the soul." Sloth can also be defined as being apathetic about government, says Robert Solomon in his book "Wicked Pleasures." Solomon says the failure of public will allows fascists to take over.

How do you overcome the sin of sloths? ›

When fighting sloth one must remain active in the spiritual life; anytime the temptations to sloth and spiritual lethargy begin to coat the soul like wet grey blankets, one should remove themselves immediately from the temptations by running to Christ in prayer, or by occupying themselves in some activity.

What animal symbolizes sloth sin? ›

The traditional symbol of Sloth (and Acedia, the two being separate yet later fused together) is actually the donkey. Of course many people understand why the donkey is sloth in a pragmatic term - it is said to be a lazy, stubborn beast that you have to force to work.

What are the seven deadly sin 8? ›

In the fourth century, a Christian monk named Evagrius Ponticus wrote down what's known as the “eight evil thoughts”: gluttony, lust, avarice, anger, sloth, sadness, vainglory and pride.

What are the unforgivable sins in the Bible? ›

Rev. Graham: Only one sin that can't be forgiven is on God's list — and that is the sin of rejecting Him and refusing His offer of forgiveness and new life in Jesus Christ. This alone is the unforgivable sin, because it means we are saying that the Holy Spirit's witness about Jesus is a lie (see Luke 12:10).

What are the 4 mortal sins? ›

Examples of mortal sins include murder, adultery, blasphemy, and idolatry. Some extreme instances of these sins, such as violence against the pope, can even result in ex-communication from the church which is a severe punishment that excludes a person from the sacraments and other aspects of the faith.

What are the 10 biggest sins? ›

  • Gula (gluttony)
  • Luxuria/Fornicatio (lust, fornication)
  • Avaritia (avarice/greed)
  • Tristitia (sorrow/despair/despondency)
  • Ira (wrath)
  • Acedia (sloth)
  • Vanagloria (vainglory)
  • Superbia (pride, hubris)

What are the signs of a slothful person? ›

Probably they're also lazy at home.
  • They take extra long breaks. ...
  • They keep complaining about being busy. ...
  • They keep delegating their work to others. ...
  • They can't keep up with a deadline or keep postponing tasks. ...
  • Their body language reveals laziness.
Nov 2, 2022

What are the three types of laziness? ›

The Mahayana tradition identifies three types of laziness: not wanting to do anything; discouragement; and busyness. We'd rather stay in bed half an hour later than get up and meditate.

What are examples of slothful behavior? ›

The slothful person is negligent in taking care of himself, his family, and his property. The sluggard always has an excuse, even a fear of being devoured by lions will keep him at home. The slothful person refuses to work and according to Scripture, he should not eat.

Is saying OMG blasphemy? ›

Julian Schneider, 14, agrees. "If you say something like 'Oh my God,' then you're using His name in vain, but if you're saying something like OMG it's not really using the Lord's name in vain because you're not saying 'Oh my God. ' It's more like 'Wow.

What are the 9 levels of purgatory? ›

A Visitor's Guide to Dante's Nine Circles of Hell
  • First Circle: Limbo. The first circle is home to the unbaptized and virtuous pagans. ...
  • Second Circle: Lust. ...
  • Third Circle: Gluttony. ...
  • Fourth Circle: Greed. ...
  • Fifth Circle: Anger. ...
  • Sixth Circle: Heresy. ...
  • Seventh Circle: Violence. ...
  • Eighth Circle: Fraud.

What does the Bible say about being lazy? ›

Proverbs 13:4 – “The soul of the lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” The lazy man desires what hard working people want: house, food, vacations, money for college and retirement. But the lazy man's desires remain unsatisfied, while the diligent gain wealth.

What are the three unforgivable sins? ›

I believe that God can forgive all sins provided the sinner is truly contrite and has repented for his or her offenses. Here's my list of unforgivable sins: ÇMurder, torture and abuse of any human being, but particularly the murder, torture and abuse of children and animals.

Who is the king of sloth sin? ›

Harlequin, also known as King, the Fairy King, or the Grizzly Sin of Sloth, is one of the main protagonists of the anime/manga/light novel series The Seven Deadly Sins. He is a member of the Seven Deadly Sins, the king of the Fairy Realm, and husband of Diane.

Which saints struggled with sloth? ›

St. Teresa of Avila struggled with the deadly wound of powerlessness. She felt powerless to change her faults and so fell into sloth by complaining which allowed her to avoid her faults.

What is the color of sloth sin? ›

Sloth: light blue and goat. Greed: yellow and frog. Gluttony: pink and pig. Lust: red and cow.

What color represents sloth laziness? ›

Light Blue – Sloth

Sloth is the act of being lazy or idle.

What is the spirit message of a sloth? ›

If the sloth is your spirit animal, it means that you are a very relaxed and easygoing person. You don't like to rush or be rushed and prefer to take things slow and steady. You're not one for drama or conflict, and you would much rather enjoy life's simple pleasures.

What is the original sin in the Bible? ›

Traditionally, the origin has been ascribed to the sin of the first man, Adam, who disobeyed God in eating the forbidden fruit (of knowledge of good and evil) and, in consequence, transmitted his sin and guilt by heredity to his descendants.

What are the 7 holy virtues? ›

They are often enumerated as chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.

What is the strongest seven deadly sins? ›

The strongest of the Seven Deadly Sins is Escanor, the lion's sin of pride. Escanor didn't make his anime debut until the final episode of the OVA special Seven Deadly Sins: Signs of Holy War. Escanor's main ability is Sunshine which fluctuates his power level based on the sun.

What does the Bible say about cremation? ›

Burying the dead was the usual practice in Biblical times, and until recently, the preferred method for most people when they passed. Even though many Bible passages see cremation as necessary in only dire times, nowhere in the Bible is cremation directly condemned.

What does the Bible say about tattoos? ›

But in the ancient Middle East, the writers of the Hebrew Bible forbade tattooing. Per Leviticus 19:28, “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves.”

What sin does not lead to death? ›

On the other hand, sin or sins that do not lead to death “are those which are committed unwittingly and which do not involve rejection of God and his way of salvation.

What crimes cry out to heaven? ›

Reformed theologian William M'Gavin opined that "the four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance; these are, wilful murder—sin of Sodom—oppression of the poor—to defraud servants of their wages" are greater in gravity than the seven deadly sins.

What mortal sins Cannot be forgiven? ›

The unpardonable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy includes ridicule and attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to the devil.

What is the most mortal sin? ›

Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother." The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft.

What are the seven hated sins? ›

By Dave Lescalleet. 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.

What are the 3 main sins in the Bible? ›

There are three sins that lie behind discontent—pride, rebellion and unbelief. These are the original sins of the devil and his angels. They are sins that come from hell itself, and they continue in hell forever.

What is a slothful person called? ›

The words indolent and lazy are common synonyms of slothful.

How do you deal with a slothful person? ›

Strategies For Dealing With Lazy People
  1. Be polite but firm in your communication. It takes work to read through an angry email and, as you know, lazy people aren't good at completing work. ...
  2. Keep it simple and definitive. ...
  3. Design the path of least resistance. ...
  4. Keep the emotion out. ...
  5. The last ditch effort.
Sep 4, 2012

What are the characteristics of a lazy person? ›

Lazybones — Three Characteristics of Lazy People
  • First, lazy people tend to postpone work later. ...
  • Second, lazy people blame others and the environment and try to make excuses like this. ...
  • Third, a lazy person should do 'what they want to do' rather than 'work to do'.
May 2, 2019

What disease causes laziness? ›

AFTER decades of being branded 'lazy' and 'over tired', sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have finally been told what they knew all along — that it is a 'real' and 'serious' disease.

What is at the root of laziness? ›

Studies of motivation suggest that laziness may be caused by a decreased level of motivation, which in turn can be caused by over-stimulation or excessive impulses or distractions. These increase the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for reward and pleasure.

What disorders are associated with laziness? ›

Apparent laziness can also be a sign of avolition. Avolition is a severe lack of motivation that makes completing any type of task challenging or almost impossible. It's sometimes a sign of depression and other conditions such as schizophrenia.

What is a modern day example of sloth? ›

Sloth. One example of sloth is plagiarism. "In this Internet culture, cut and paste is so easy," said Franke. "And attributing sources is something students don't quite get so very often." Faculty must think about how to define plagiarism, model ethical values for students and respond to violations of those values.

What Scripture says against slothfulness? ›

“The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious” (Proverbs 12:27). “By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through” (Ecclesiastes 10:18).

What represents the sin of sloth? ›

Sloth defined is the reluctance to work or make an effort. It's laziness.

How do Catholics overcome sloths? ›

When fighting sloth one must remain active in the spiritual life; anytime the temptations to sloth and spiritual lethargy begin to coat the soul like wet grey blankets, one should remove themselves immediately from the temptations by running to Christ in prayer, or by occupying themselves in some activity.

What is sloth a sin against? ›

Sloth is a sin against God's love in that it goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness. It is a loss of hope in ever achieving what God wants for us: our eternal happiness.

What is the deadliest sin? ›

Pride (superbia), also known as hubris (from Ancient Greek ὕβρις) or futility. It is considered the original and worst of the seven deadly sins on almost every list, the most demonic. It is also thought to be the source of the other capital sins. Pride is the opposite of humility.

What are the types of sloth sin? ›

While laziness is certainly an element of sloth, there's more to this sin than just laziness. In Hit List, Brian Hedges defines the sin of sloth with four characteristics: (1) carelessness, (2) unwillingness to act, (3) half-hearted effort, and (4) becoming easily discouraged by any possible difficulty.


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