The Eighth Deadly Sin

by Rachel Mullen

As I was reading the news this week, hunting for appropriate blog topic that would lend itself to talking about the renunciations of Lent and the self-monitoring called for in this season of restraint, I started reading about the deadly sins. I followed an internet rabbit hole to an article that spoke of the eight deadly sins. Wait. What? I’ve been told our deadly sins come in packs of seven, not eight. That’s when I learned about acedia. “Acedia comes from Greek and means ‘a lack of care.’ It sounds a little like today’s sloth, and acedia is indeed considered a precursor to today’s sin of laziness. To Christian monks in the fourth century, however, acedia was more than just laziness or apathy. It was more like dejection that made it difficult to be spiritual, avoiding ascetic practices, boredom that led to falling asleep while reading, and frustration with life in a monastery.”1


Acedia was something that tempted monks and other Christians to leave their spiritual lives. It was and is dangerous stuff. Evagrius of Pontius (a Greek monk) listed acedia among a list of other grievous sins, which included sexual immorality, pride, and gluttony. Acedia hit me hard last year, even though I didn’t have a name for it. So, this year, when Lent rolled around, I kept thinking “Lord, haven’t I given up enough? Haven’t I cared and sacrificed and surrendered enough?” I didn’t consciously give anything up for Lent this year. I just couldn’t find it in me to care. Acedia had taken over.


While many look to 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 for scoldings on sexual immorality or food, it applies also to other sins that dwell inside us. Sins like spiritual laziness, apathy, acedia. We should not become complacent in our faith. “Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). As we draw near to Easter and the celebration of the risen Christ, it’s an exciting time. Allow yourself to get excited! We deserve to celebrate, and God deserves to have a people fired up about God’s wondrous works.





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