The Core Sin of Sloth

Theologically, the term sin means evil behavior, corporate or individual. The term should not be confused with the term crime, which means breaking society’s rules. Sin involves poor attitude towards God that alienates man from God. All religions have the concept of sin, but they differ when it comes to interpretation of the term. Sloth is one of the seven deadly, capital or cardinal sins. These are vices, which early Christians used to instruct and educate their followers regarding the tendency by humans to sin. These sins include wrath, sloth, greed, pride, envy, lust and gluttony.


Catholics divide the sins into two: venial sins and mortal sins. According to theology, mortal sin destroys the grace found in a person. This sin, therefore, threatens the eternal damnation. Deadly sins form the origin of other sins. A deadly sin can be classified as either mortal or venial, but this depends on the situation. Christians refer to them as “capital sins” because they bring other vices or sins. Deadly sins became popular in the 14th century, when European artists helped ingrain them in the catholic culture and consciousness around the world. This popularity led to the formation of “SALIGIA”, which was a mnemonic of the seven capital sins in Latin. These included Superbia, Avaritia, Luxuria, Invidia, Gula, Ira and Acedia. These sins destroy the charity found in human beings. This leads to eternal death.

Sloth can be defined as emotional or spiritual apathy, which makes one neglect the word of God by being emotionally and physically inactive. This word comes from the Latin word ‘Acedia’ that means carelessness. Sloth can also mean wastage as a result of lack the person’s usage of things, place, skills or anything requiring maintenance, support or refinement for it to remain in existence. Religious views say that human beings should work so that they support the society. God’s work and plan also suggests that people should be active in order to avoid sin.

According to the Bible, Satan brings mischief in idle hands. In some instances the word dejection replaces the word sloth because a person who gets dejected loses any interest in life.

Many speakers narrow the sin of sloth to mean laziness. In fact, the Bible speaks about laziness meaning that laziness leads to poverty. A person who loves to sleep must be lazy and a lazy person will always see lions in the street. This can be applied on a person who believes that he cannot get a job opportunity because of the high levels of unemployment. Such a person gets killed by his desires because his hands refuse to labor. His path also becomes full of thorns. He believes he is wiser than any other people. This makes him ruin his household leading to poverty due to scarcity. A lazy person shares his fate with dreamers and followers of worthless pursuits. A lazy person who fails to put food in his mouth, yet he has a job, should be described like “smoke to the eyes or vinegar to the teeth” to those who have offered him the job. Prophet Amos said that rich and lazy insensitive people end up becoming slaves.

The Bible also speaks of the servant who buried his talent in the ground instead of using it in a proper way. That person’s talent should be taken away and given to another person with ten talents. The worthless servant, on the other hand, has been thrown to hell where there is gnashing of teeth and weeping. These words can be found in the parable of talents. The Bible also compares a lazy person to the devil, and the devil is known to be a murderer. Therefore, a lazy person is also a murderer thus breaking God’s commandment. Once again he disobeys by not working yet God sent him to do His work. God wants His people to labor so that they enjoy fruits of their labor. Christians should not be lazy, but zealous in following those who inherit the promises. Growth of virtues makes laziness to disappear.

Sloth is all about laziness, aversion and lack of physical exertion. A person with a ‘do not care’ attitude should also be termed as lazy since he does not get motivated to work by anything. Most teenagers of today can be related to sloth since they do not like working. They expect things to come freely to them without working for them. Slothful people want the best for themselves, but are not ready to contribute towards getting what they desire to get. They do not want to do anything, yet they always expect to get whatever they wish to have. In case they fail to get what they want, they keep on complaining. They blame other people for such failures. In case another person gets what they had desired, they accuse such a person of being a thief.

Slothful people never want to take any responsibility. They believe that the burden lies on their shoulders; hence lack of diligence leads to their failure. Sloth is the refusal of accountability thus responsibility. Responsibility requires that a person works hard and must be accountable. Christians must be accountable on the judgment day or the final day. Human work can be like filthy rags before the eyes of the Lord, but people must labor for Jesus. Once people accept Jesus Christ as their Lord, their status change from being slaves of Satan, to servants of Christ, the Savior. Christians must serve others since Jesus together with his disciples served people. He continues to serve His people to date by cleansing and washing their sins. Slothful people hate serving others but instead they want to be served.

Selfishness comes from slothful people who hate working to benefit others. These are people who rarely care about other people. They work only under pressure since they do not have the driving force to work. It is only under desperate and extreme circumstances that slothful people work. Benefits of their labor cannot help anyone else apart from themselves. Sloth as a sin goes against Jesus’ teachings. Christians ought to serve others in genuine faith. It would be necessary to be visionary in eternal life; hence active to pursue such visions. Jesus Christ is, indeed, an admirable example since He was not selfish such that he died for people’s sins. Christians should work continuously when it comes to other people’s needs. Lazy people shall not enter the kingdom of God, where people shall live for others and not for themselves.


In conclusion, sloth is one of the seven deadly sins which lead to other sins. Sloth means the lack of willingness to work; hence laziness. It means disinclination to exertion. St. Thomas refers to it as sadness in achieving something beneficial. Some other catholic priests call sloth the “don’t care attitude”. A slothful person feels distressed in doing something he needs to do in order to keep his closeness with God. It is the opposite of charity. Such a person violates God’s first commandment by going away from God whom he should love whole-heartedly. Lazy people disregard themselves. Slothful people also disobey God since God gave people responsibilities, which they must accomplish. Sloth should be avoided at all costs so that human beings remain close to the Creator.

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