You know, these sins we’ve been writing about are downright depressing. But we think there is one that is almost funny that we can write about today–SLOTH. Ahhh, yes, SLOTH. SLOTH would have the synonyms of laziness, idleness, indolence. We can live with those and sloth itself. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? That you can live with a sin you commit? Well, don’t be too quick to judge. First, we have to admit that when we found out sloth was a Cardinal Sin, we wondered how that cute little, slow-moving little, love-bug type animal could ever be sinful? Oh, yeah. Sloth didn’t mean that endearing animal. It meant us lying around, disinclined to work, or even move if not absolutely necessary.
If you think about a person continually being in that form of existence, we guess it could be a sin. For us, however, being a sinner by exercising sloth, has been encouraged and we have even been told to commit slothfulness! When we don’t get everything done on our list, we feel we have committed the sin of Sloth, then we make mental lists of how we can get it done the next day all through the night. Furthermore, we have always admired those who can just sit and watch TV and eat all day, or whatever, with no urgency to get things done! How lucky not to worry and be doing all the time! We feel overwhelming guilt if we watch a movie that runs over two hours! Oh, to commit the Cardinal Sin of SLOTH! We’ve been told we would actually live longer if we committed the sin of SLOTH. So…
In researching SLOTH as a sin, we will admit we can see where it can most definitely be sinful. We remember working at a job when we were younger where we felt Sloth was most assuredly a sin. We and another person were hired at the same time to clean and restock at a smaller grocery store. Believing honest work for honest pay, we did everything we were asked to do, eager to please the boss. Our co-worker, though, was continually sitting in the back of the store on boxes of product that were to be set out on shelves. We asked when he was going to start restocking the shelves and received a smirking grin and, “You’re whipping around here doing a great job! The boss will never know you did it all and I don’t feel like doing it anyway. So no big deal, right?” We stood there with our mouth hanging open. Sure, we were “whipping around” to do everything–but that was what we were hired to do! At the end of the day, the boss came by as we were clocking out, with our co-worker (?), and said, “You guys did a great job! See you tomorrow.” The co-worker smiled a charming smile and said, “Thanks Boss! See you bright and early!” We just mumbled thank you in shock that the person who had done nothing at all except take “breaks” from sitting on boxes and a lunch hour during a 30 minute allowed lunch, could stand there and take credit for our work! But we said nothing and watched. Well, it happened day after day, right up until the day we were to be paid. Outside the store, he asked, “How much did you get?” We countered with, “How much did YOU get?” Then added, “For doing nothing.” He laughed. When we realized he made as much as we had, we were furious! So, not even knowing SLOTH was a cardinal sin, when he asked again how much we had made, we hissed, “Go To Hell!” hoping beyond hope it was sooner than later.
Did we continue doing all the work? Well, we continued working, for sure, but we worked wherever the boss was or close by. He would ask where our co-worker was and we would quietly reply, “Probably on break–again.” By the third day of this, the boss went looking for him because we would say, non-accusatorily, probably on break again every time we were asked. Joy of joys! The jerk was in the back, sitting on the boxes, as usual, listening to his transistor radio. He never saw or heard the boss approaching, which we watched through the plastic slats on the storeroom door. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! Oh, the rage of the boss! Oh, the stammering of the sinful caught in the act! Our co-worker scowled at us as he stormed out, jacket and transistor radio in hand–and no paper check! The boss told us we should have told him and we said, honestly, we had been too busy to rat on the guy. The boss smiled and nodded. Next payday, we received a hefty raise. Heh hehe. Just sayin…
SLOTH is a sin when your laziness and idleness makes others do your work or work twice as hard and you reap the benefits of others’ work. SLOTH is a sin when it is your duty or obligation to accomplish a task or make decisions and you simply are too lazy to be bothered. SLOTH is a sin when you take on a job and won’t be bothered to do it because you want to golf, or go to the beach, or watch TV and your lack of doing the job you acquired hurts or penalizes others’ welfare due to your laziness and indolence.
Today’s culture shows us the perils of the sin of SLOTH. Many of us are victims of the person who will not do their job. When a road is to be paved and potholes filled and as you pass you see workers standing, arms propped on shovels and doing nothing, you and your car suffer as the job they are being paid to do is not being done. Or you contract to have a roof repaired and the workers decide to leave early, having done minimum work and you sit under a dripping ceiling because it is raining but they still want their money. And forgive us, when the government is shut down, but you still have to work the basic jobs, free of charge and without pay because certain people won’t do their jobs to reopen it until they get what they want without working for it.
But there is an opposite action and virtue to SLOTH. That virtue is DILIGENCE. DILIGENCE shows itself in the furloughed workers during the government shutdown. The workers involved kept the White House bathrooms clean, kept the planes in the air, kept security going at airports, kept protecting the president from outside harm, kept running his errands. DILIGENCE is the doctor that cared for you during a health crisis that stays with you all night, sleeping in a chair by your bed to make sure you are all right before he leaves to rest at home. DILIGENCE is that friend who takes you to the doctor’s appointment and waits for two hours with you though there are so many things they need to do. DILIGENCE is that teacher who stays to teach the youngster the difference between spelling a word one way versus another, or to explain negative numbers and decimals. DILIGENCE is not leaving a problem to another, but rather hanging in there to help find a solution.
DILIGENCE is the virtue that one has that shows others that you will do your job. DILIGENCE shows others you are dependable, can be trusted, can be relied upon. In short, diligence shows you make things happen! Diligence is also the mother sitting by the sick child, never leaving. Or the father showing time and again a child how to make model come together. Most importantly, DILIGENCE shows love and caring for others, with or without pay–a sense of responsibility to self and others. It is the thing that keeps the universe circling as it should. People, parents, who are diligent do not laugh at others in pain, but show others how to accept and help others. Diligence doesn’t blame or bully. Diligence offers a path to confidence and compassion. It never is superior; it is quiet love–for self, the world, for living beings–so that all may benefit from work and working together.
So–are we committing the Cardinal Sin of SLOTH? We don’t think so. And is taking a day watching TV, sunning on the beach SLOTH? We don’t think so. We don’t think we would commit the sin of SLOTH unless you said we could be with those cute little sloths if we promised not to work at all. Or said we could live with animals. Or just be in nature forever with all its creatures. Yeah–then we would sin…
See you tomorrow and we can explore yet another sin. Wonder what we’ll pick for tomorrow? Come back and find out 🙂 (Enjoy a movie at home and know we don’t think you are sinning)