Freedom from the seven deadly sins (Billy Graham)

After a minister had spoken strongly against sin one morning, one of his members said, “We don’t want you to talk so plainly about sin because if our boys and girls hear you mention it, they will more easily become sinners. Call it a mistake if you will, but do not speak so bluntly about sin.” The minister went to the medicine shelf and brought back a bottle of strychnine marked POISON. He said, “I see what you want me to do. You want me to change the label. Suppose I take off this ‘poison’ label and put on some mild label such as ‘peppermint candy.’ Can’t you see the danger? The milder you make the label, the more deadly the poison.”

During the last few years we have been putting a mild label on sin. We’ve called it “error,” “negative action” and “inherent fault.” But it is high time that we put a POISON label back on the poison bottle and not be afraid to be as plain as the Bible is about the tragic consequences of sin. Pope Gregory the Great, at the end of the sixth century, divided all sins under seven heads. He said that every sin that a man commits can be classified by seven words. He named the sins: pride, anger, envy, impurity, gluttony, slothfulness and avarice. The have been called down through the centuries “the seven deadly sins.” These sins are nowhere collectively mentioned in a single passage in the Bible, and yet they are all condemned separately in many places.

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