A man exhibiting sloth by sleeping on the couchThe adorable animal that’s called a sloth is a good example of the sin this week. It only moves about 41 yards each day. It has an extremely slow metabolic rate, which gives it the sluggish pace in the forest. A sloth sleeps for about 15 hours each day. They digest food pretty slowly. In fact, they don’t need a lot of food to survive. Sloths are protected from predators by hanging motionless in a camouflaged setting, but the biggest danger to the sloth is habitat loss.

What Is Sloth?

Now that you’re thinking about this slow-moving creature, you can get a better idea of sloth as a sin. It’s generally defined as a state of mind that is apathetic, lazy or sluggish. It’s often confused with depression, but it might better be defined as self-pity or self-centeredness on one’s own desires. The sin of sloth is not really an immoral act. Rather it is a sin of performance or omission. Some popes have described it as knowing the right thing to do and failing to do it.

Thomas Aquinas called sloth a “sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good.” The Orthodox Catholic Church uses the word “dejection” in place of sloth. The person loses interest in life, but it’s due to indifference or boredom with God, not because of a mental imbalance that often occurs with depression. Sloth is laziness and apathy, but it’s the motives behind those traits that determines whether someone is slothful or ill.

What Does the Bible Say About Sloth?

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about the sluggard. Here are just a few of these verses:

“The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” (Proverbs 12:24)

“Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.” (Proverbs 19:15)

“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8)

“Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.” (Proverbs 12:27)

The New Testament has a number of verses that tell believers to work heartily for the Lord and others (Colossians 3:23). In Hebrews 6:12, the author hopes that you learn not to be a sluggard, but to imitate those who worked hard to inherit the promises. In 2 Thessalonians 3:6, believers are commanded to “keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness.”

Sloth in Pop Culture

Sloth is the opposite of diligence. It’s difficult to portray in pop culture because when the villain is slothful, nothing gets done. Heroes can be slothful and need to overcome that trait. In Dante’s famous “Inferno” the punishment for sloth is being thrown into a pit of snakes. While sloth is often represented by the sloth, it might also be represented as goats, bears or donkeys.

Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” is a great representation of sloth, but it is certainly okay to take a day off work now and then. Calvin, from “Calvin and Hobbes,” exemplifies sloth. When he does have to work hard, he complains. Baloo, from Disney’s “Jungle Book,” is another example of laziness. He waits for “the bare necessities” to come to him. He’s not only just content with what he has, he doesn’t have any motivation to do anything.

Evil, But Fun Sloths

The evilest sloths are those who manipulate others into doing their work rather than lifting a hand to help. Sometimes this backfires, as it can take more energy to try and get out of work than to just do the work. Just watch “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” for one more example of slothfulness and enjoy rooting for the underdog.

Category: Religion ULC Topics

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