The Seven Deadly Sins — Wrath
For the past two months, we’ve been looking at the Seven Deadly Sins. Why might you ask? I have a deep fascination with spooky things, and the imagery surrounding these sins is, well, spooky. But the more that I dug into these sins, the more I had to know what makes them so deadly. So, I asked a few friends to help unpack each of these a bit more. So, in case you missed them, click on the deadly sin: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, and pride. And now we’ve come to the final deadly sin — wrath.
Wrath can be defined as uncontrolled feelings of anger, rage, and even hatred. Wrath often reveals itself in the wish to seek vengeance. It’s deadly because it’s a sin that builds. It starts as something small. Then, as time goes on, it permeates through us, growing, waiting to be released. Like a volcano erupting, taking out whoever dares to stand in its way.
Wrath is a topic that could be a series on its own. However, for the sake of time, this blog will focus on one thing that could lead us to wrath — anger. Anger can be the starting point to wrath if we aren’t careful. Author and Bible teacher Jen Wilkin describes anger as “a negative emotion, like fear or sorrow — a natural response to a circumstance. In particular, anger is a natural response to the violation of our wills. If all anger was sinful, we would not need the reminder, ‘Be angry and do not sin,’ Eph. 4:26.”
Having a natural response to anger is normal. God created us with emotions. However, in our sinful nature, these emotions can often be clouded by our own self-righteousness if we don’t manage them properly. Take the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, for instance. Nowhere in scripture does it say that Cain’s anger was sinful; however, from where it ended up leading him, it became sinful. Now, I’m not saying any of you will go out and murder someone, but anger can easily turn into wrath as our hatred for another image-bearer if we nurse and indulge it. “A negative emotion can lead to harmful thinking, to harmful speech, and to harmful actions.” — Jen Wilkin, Ten Words to Live By.
Scripture tells us in Colossians, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” To do this, we must pause and ask ourselves, what is causing us to be so defensive in this moment? What is causing these feelings? When we learn to attune to what’s causing us to react in these ways, we give ourselves the perspective we need to handle difficult situations with a sense of godly maturity. This can include removing ourselves from an unhealthy relationship or examining how our experiences influence our perception of the world around us. While we can’t control other people’s actions, we do get to choose how we’ll respond. Will we choose to look to God?
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. — Romans 12:17–21
So now what?
As we close this series out, I want to challenge each of you to reflect on the same question I asked in week one.
Which sin[s] do I struggle with?
Ever since sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, people have been immoral, lazy, and self-gratifying. I’m not saying this is everyone all the time, but as sinful beings, we often find ourselves in one of these categories. We may not think what we are doing is immoral, lazy, or self-gratifying, but often when we peel back the layers and uncover the motives, it becomes very apparent. And when we boil it down, these seven deadly sins encompass most of our sin struggles.
All sin is deadly. I think that is the point — a reminder of how each of these sins can lead to death and destruction. But there is hope. Over the past eight weeks, we looked a little deeper at each of these sins and the death and destruction they bring. But we also looked at the truth of the Gospel and how each of these sins has been overcome and paid for on the cross by Jesus.
Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death…” but thankfully, the verse doesn’t end there. The verse continues: “…but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Yes, this list may be called the Seven Deadly Sins, but we don’t have to live trapped in their hold — there is hope. And as we wrap up this blog series, our prayer is that we can find freedom from the grip these sins hold on us and experience the beauty of life found in Jesus Christ.