This is a guide to confession and responsive reading used at Beavercreek Nazarene in 2012. It concluded a series on the Seven Deadly Sins.
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On Ash Wednesday, we journeyed to the Garden of Eden. In that Garden, God created two trees – one that led to life, and the other to death. And we all choose that second tree. We all try to take God’s place as the king of our own lives. Our choice, our Pride, introduced sin and death into the world. And every time we choose our ways instead of God’s Way, we bring sin and death into the world.
On Good Friday, we gather to remember the Cross. The Cross shows us the deadly fruit of that second tree.
On the Cross, Jesus took the full weight of our sin. He bore its consequence: Death. Because Jesus died for us, we can be freed from Sin. We can escape Death. But we must repent of our sin. We must confess to God our sin and turn from it. We must abandon our own ways to follow God’s Way.
To help us confess, our early Church fathers created a list that’s become known as the Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, Gluttony, Envy, Greed, Wrath, Sloth and Lust.
This list is the most basic kinds of sins, the root sins from which all other human evils grow. Though it’s challenging and a bit scary, we must bravely explore our own sinfulness, recognizing and naming that Sin traps and enslaves us. Only then can we truly repent and find the freedom Jesus’ death bought us.
Let this guide your confession. Prayerfully repent of your sin and believe the Good News: that Jesus died to rescue us from Death. Click any of the links for more on each of the sins.
What it is: Pride is thinking that we know better than God.
The antidote is Humility: we must remember that God is God and we are not.
What it is: Gluttony is looking for eternal fulfillment in anything that’s not God.
The antidote is Temperance: we must learn to moderate our desires so they don’t control us.
What it is: Envy grows from comparing ourselves to others because we’ve placed our self-worth in something other than God.
The antidote is Kindness: we must choose to extend grace and love to those with whom we compare ourselves.
What it is: Greed is desiring more money and stuff than we need.
The antidote is Generosity: when we give generously, our stuff cannot control us.
What it is: Wrath is an inappropriate response to injustice.
The antidote is Gentleness: a gentle person controls their emotions, not the other way around.
What it is: Sloth is refusing to meet the demands Love makes of us.
The antidote is Diligence: we choose to act not out of our emotions, but out of what we know to be right and true.
What it is: Lust reduces people to objects of our desire. The lustful person ignores the relational aspect of our sexual nature.
The antidote is Chastity: Not merely abstinence, but conscious choice to engage in healthy, God-honoring relationships with all those in our lives.
A Responsive Reading for Good Friday
Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?
My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot
Like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
There was nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected– a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried
It was our sorrows that weighed him down.
Forgive us, Lord, for our Pride.
We think we know better than God, that our way is better than God’s.
Forgive us, Lord, for our Gluttony.
We look for eternal fulfillment from temporary things. We worship creation instead of the creator.
Forgive us, Lord, for our Envy.
Instead of listening to who you’ve told us we are, we compare ourselves to other people.
Forgive us, Lord, for our Greed.
Instead of gratefully receiving good gifts from you, we desire more. We consume more than we need.
Forgive us, Lord, for our Wrath.
We do not measure our anger. We take it out on the wrong persons. We seek to revenge ourselves rather than waiting for your justice.
Forgive us, Lord, for our Sloth.
We shrink back from the demands your love makes on us.
Forgive us, Lord, for our Lust.
We reduce people created in your image to objects for our pleasure. We do not steward your gift of sexuality well.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for us rebels.
– Adapted from Isaiah 53 (New Living Translation)