From an early age, we are taught to recognize and to steer clear of the seven deadly sins: pride, greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth. These are known as the “capital” sins, because they can be the foundation for other sins (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1866). While committing the seven deadly sins can lead to severe punishment in the afterlife, these seven deadly sins can put you in “hell on earth” when they lead to excessive spending, mismanaging finances and debt.
Scriptures on money management tell us that greed, envy, and gluttony are probably the easiest sins to connect to spending habits. Greed rears its ugly head when we compete with the Joneses, always wanting more of the latest and greatest possessions and hoarding our money for our own selfish purposes. Envy walks hand in hand with greed, urging us to covet our neighbor’s possessions and to want the things we don’t have yet. Gluttony makes us indulge in the things we want but don’t need rather than saving for the things we do need.
But what about pride, wrath, lust and sloth? They, too, have their own financial implications.
We are guilty of financial pride when we feel that our wealth and possessions make us better than others. Since we have so much more than others, why should we manage our finances faithfully, pay off debt or plan for emergencies?
Wrath rears its ugly head when we blame others in anger for our own mistakes. If only we could make more money, we would be able to manage our finances better. We blame the lender for getting us into loans we can’t afford to pay back, and we are angry about the burden of debt that we created for ourselves.
Lust is a very deep physical desire. While often associated with sex, we can lust after material possessions, spend money we don’t have and end up driving ourselves deeper and deeper into debt to fulfill our desires.
As for financial sloth, why should we plan and organize our spending today when we can do it tomorrow? It’s much easier to ignore that massive credit card bill than it is to face the facts and conquer debt. Maybe we’ll get around to donating more money to worthwhile causes sometime in the future–but maybe we won’t.
These seven deadly financial sins are all too easy to commit based on the American consumer mindset. Each day, advertisers influence us to these excesses, leading us down a fiery path straight to our own hell on earth.
Instead, learn to be humble, modest, generous, content, peaceful, indifferent to the pull of our culture and full of energy to live life God’s way. Find the strength to resist these deadly financial sins by learning about scriptures on money management. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never forsake you or abandon you.’”