Avalon Chronicles #82: "Christianity, E.Q. and S.Q."
By Allen Clark firstname.lastname@example.org
References: http://www.catholicbible101.com/7deadly sins
Until last year for almost twenty years it had been my privilege to be a guest speaker at high school Youth Leadership Conferences sponsored by my special patriotic organization, the Military Order of the World Wars. All hands were raised when I inquired how many knew what was meant by I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient). Only a few were raised when I asked what was meant by E.Q. (Emotional Quotient). In a secular setting I would not have asked how many knew about S.Q. (Spiritual Quotient).
Our Emotional Quotient is developed over time and is enhanced as we develop patterns in our lives that reflect choices of actions (especially words) and their consequences; reactions to the words and actions of others; and the state of the reflection of our faith in the Lord Jesus.
Once and when we cross that line in our belief as a "Christian" wherein we believe sincerely that Jesus is the Son of God, who came to earth to set an example for righteous living, who bequeathed us guidelines for what is acceptable behavior, and who provides us forgiveness upon confession of our sins, we then begin to live new lives, bolstered with a new manner of living. We develop our Spiritual Quotient.
Often I have heard, "They are not 'Christian.' They get angry. They do not forgive. Observe the way they act." What this line of judgmental critique represents is, just because we are "Christians," we are automatically supposed to have it all together in our E.Q. and S.Q. Life does not work that way. But, imagine what our life would be like, if we did not have the Holy Trinity in our lives.
Just recently I envisioned a pyramid. The bottom edge of the pyramid is crossed when we believe Jesus the Christ is the Savior, who came to earth to die for our sins and to point the path toward receiving the ultimate gift, eternity in Heaven upon bodily death.
Then begins growth in our E.Q. and S.Q., development of our maturity, and response patterns. Even after crossing that threshold of faith in which we endeavor to live as Jesus Christ teaches us to live, we must stick with the program.
I picture the pyramid as having seven levels, corresponding to Seven Virtues to which we aspire, all seven of which are the direct antithesis to what are termed the Seven Deadly Sins.
It is written in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV):
"Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold all things become new."
They only become new as we are able and advance to virtuous living because incessantly we are subject to the world's system of behavior and reaction patterns because we are susceptible and typically driven by what is written in 1 John 2:16 (KJV):
"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world."
Life becomes a slow and tedious climbing up the levels of that pyramid with hopeful adherence to the Seven Virtues, which are the counters to the Seven Deadly Sins (as originally defined by Pope Gregory in 590 A.D.). The Seven Virtues contrasted to the Seven Deadly Sins are:
Humility--------Pride (Haughtiness, Arrogance)
Generosity------Greed (Excessive desire for wealth, cupidity, covetousness)
Love-------------Envy (Discontent and ill will over another's advantages)
Kindness--------Wrath (Intense anger, rage, fury)
Self-control-----Lust (Bodily appetites, especially excessive sexual desire)
Temperance-----Gluttony (Habit or act of overeating)
Zeal---------------Sloth (laziness, idleness)
Catholic doctrine divides sin into mortal and venial categories. With my limited doctrinal and theological knowledge (Protestant or Catholic) it is my desire to define venial and mortal sins in layman's terms. If we define not reflecting the Seven Virtues in their most simplified form as venial sins, then they become sins of "omission." If we define the Seven Deadly Sins as "mortal ones" (omitting for the time being the Ten Commandments), then they become sins of "commission." Sins both of "omission" and "commission" are necessary to be identified, confessed, and repented of in order to receive God's forgiveness.
We pray to God, in the Name of Jesus, by the Holy Spirit for forgiveness. If we do not confess and also receive forgiveness for the venial sins, it may lead to commission of mortal sins. For both, venial and mortal, lack of forgiveness allows the "tormenters" (a whole new topic of spiritual warfare) to take control of us. I want God on my side of the line of battle and I desire a state of grace to be imparted to me, wherein I receive the unmerited favor of God and answers to my prayers.
As a Christian, God is very patient with us in our lives (in contrast to all our "judges") as we work our way up through those levels of the pyramid. It is a constant struggle and challenge to achieve perfection, but we must never relent with discipline to continue trying. We must pray we will master as many of the virtues as possible as well as possible and maturely as we are capable, before it is our time of earthly demise. Amen.