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GREED - Chapter 6 "Sinning Like a Christian"

Over the years, Biblical scholars have offered a variety of motives for Judas’s betrayal of Jesus, but was it anything more than Greed? Was it Judas who was in charge of the finances and was it Judas who rebuked the use of the valuable oil that anointed Jesus when it could have been sold? Greed keeps us wanting more and more whether it’s money or some other desire.

Bishop Willimon says, “Considered along with some of the other Seven Deadly Sins, Greed is one of those self-evidently bad sins.” He uses Charles Dickens’s character Scrooge to show “the solitary, self-centered nature of Greed.” Like Scrooge Greed causes us to be in competition with others and ultimately leads us to that solitary existence. When is enough, well, enough? How do we judge when we have enough money or enough things? How much “stuff” do we need to be happy?

As with the other sins we’ve looked at, Greed is linked to idolatry. It becomes the false god that claims our wrong worship. In this chapter, James Ogilvy is quoted as saying, “Greed turns love into lust, leisure into sloth, hunger into gluttony, honor into pride, righteous indignation into anger, and admiration into envy. If it weren’t for greed, we would suffer fewer of the other devices.” It can be an easy slide from a good level of desire to a consuming state of need.

This is difficult in our world where status is constantly thrown at us through those enticing ads that tell us we need these clothes or that car or that job, etc. Willimon tells us that we need to learn “how to want the right things in the right way and the right proportions.” We need to recognize when enough is enough.

On page 112 we find these words: “What good does all of this reflection on sin do us? Not much, unless we have some sense of the possibility of sanctification, some sense that it might be possible, in knowing ourselves better, with God’s help, to be better.”

Submitted by Lay Leaders

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