Sins and Virtues

Lust   -   Chastity

Gluttony   -   Temperance

Greed   -   Charity

Sloth   -   Diligence

Wrath   -   Patience

Envy   -   Gratitude

Pride   -   Humility

Defining a Virtue

If a vice, or sin, is a deviation, defect or excess of a rightly ordered thing, than a virtue is the perfected rightly ordered action in response to each condition of our lives. For example, if someone were in need, the vice would be greed, but the virtue would be charity. Virtue is the habitual outpouring of an internal nature which has a tendency to do good.  Virtues are practiced until they become rooted in one's soul. Although they do not guarantee sinless perfection, they become a part of our new nature which inclines us toward that good. They are not simply what we do, but who we are.

These virtues are practices that are not only rightly ordered actions, but also are defenses against the vices.  Whether we are creating a bulwark against the sins or we are exercising our morality to break habitual vices, these virtues are a valuable discipline to add to our faith.

Imagine a stick that's warped, bent askew as a result of habitual vice. It leans toward being disposed to deviance. This stick can't be straightened except that it's bent in an opposing direction, righting the wrong bias.  These virtues are equivalent to bending the stick backwards against the tendency to commit sin.

Chastity Opposes Lust

Chastity is the wisdom to recognize our lust as degrading the union of husband and wife to cheap self-gratification and degradation of the object of our lust as nothing more than something created to be used and not loved. Chastity remains pure. Acts of chastity protect ourselves and others from the disrespect of lust.

Temperance Opposes Gluttony

Temperance recognizes the need of self-control and identifies our abandonment in self-satisfaction. To temper our desires with calculation of our needs and also the needs of another we fight the bottomless belly that can never be satiated. Acts of temperance overcome gluttony.

Charity Opposes Greed

Charity desires the good of another and halts the ability of greed to grow. Because one cannot serve God and money, one can also not dedicate themselves to personal gain at the same time as making effort to give goodwill to others. Love is not an emotion but action. Acts of charity deny greed its power.

Diligence Opposes Sloth

Diligence is sustained effort against the careless apathy of slothfulness. Diligence works not on motivation but on values. It labors because labor is good regardless of circumstantial emotions. Sloth has only the value of self whether expressed in self-sorrow or self-pleasure. Acts of diligence bring profit where sloth stalls.

Patience Opposes Wrath

Patience is temperance in dealing with the ignorance or faults of others and is the self control needed in times of trial. Patience gives the opportunity for repairing relationships and for our own self control. It refuses to punish or lash out. It recognizes failure without need for vengance. Acts of patience prevent permanent damage done by condemning wrath.

Gratitude Opposes Envy

Gratitude is the recognition and thankfulness for all things in one's life. Gratitude knows that ones own self is not the source of life or its gifts. It is tied closely to humility. Gratitude can give thanks for circumstances because it knows that all things work together for good and can be redeemed. Acts of Gratitude block strife caused by envy.

Humility Opposes Pride

Humility is the realization of ones estate in life as both created in the image of God and also created to serve one another.  Humility does not self-despise or deny truth. Rather, it refuses to exalt oneself over another or above God's will. It receives correction and sees beyond it's own will. Acts of Humility prevent break in community with God and man because of pride.

To be able to gain the virtues listed above, we must practice the spiritual disciplines that equip us in these virtues.