We’ve ambled through five of what are known as The Seven Deadly Sins. Fear not! We are not going to plow through The Seven Virtues next! But it’s probably time for a reminder disclaimer, if only because the word sin is such an unsettling word.
When I talk about sin, I’m NOT referring to prescribed shoulds-oughts-and-have tos designed to force us into a behavioral box for our own good and because that’s what is required of a (certain type) of religious person. I’m not even going to go into a theological treatise about the doctrine of sin just because most don’t care, nor does that need to be our focus.
What I’ve been talking about are the attitudes and actions that come from some deep place in us that separate us from ourselves and God. God’s in the picture because whatever separates us from what is best for us separates us from God because God wants what’s best for us in the first place. For those who don’t believe in God or have another name by which to refer to the unknown mystical force attuned to our spiritual natures, I still think we can find common ground for the effects of sin.
Gluttony is an interesting sin because it’s so prevalent around us. The word glutton literally means to gulp down or swallow. It’s manifested in over-indulgence of food, drink, or substances. It also infers wealth to the point of waste. Often greed gets lumped together with gluttony because sometimes an attitude of greed will lead to a behavior of gluttony.
The recent death of 27 year-old British singer Amy Winehouse brought the topics of addiction, substance and self-abuse back into circulation. This gifted musician’s struggle with drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, and other self-abuse were regular tabloid tidbits. The struggle was intense for her, her friends, and her family. Sadly, time against the struggle ran out for Amy.
Gluttony or addiction is so insidious because sometimes our bodies give out before an effective intervention can take affect. That’s why facing the reality of what is going on within us is so important. Sometimes there are bio-chemical or psychological factors at play that need professional or medical intervention and oversight. Sometimes we need to avail ourselves of support groups like AA and Weight Watchers. Sometimes we can just talk about it with a trusted friend.
I don’t want to downplay the seriousness or make simplistic something that is very complicated. But the thing about sin, is that it has the greatest opportunity to take hold when we’re isolated from ourselves and others. It’s painful taking an audit of our thoughts and behaviors with ourselves. That’s why so many live in a state of denial. It’s even harder to trust others.
The only way to break the cycle is to reach out. We were created for community. Our very survival depends on it. Who is in your Amen corner?