A century-old teaching in the church that we see in culture today revolves around seven sins we see in the Bible. The idea is that these particular sins are more deadly than others because all other sins derive from these personal afflictions that cause your frame of mind and the way you behave to be negatively effected. The teaching goes that the punishments for these sins are much more severe and strengthen your suffering in Hell.
While the punishments for these particular sins and that they are more “deadly” than others isn’t taught biblically, the fact that these sins can lead to others because they change the way you conduct yourself is a good lesson to learn. Allowing yourself to slip into the mindset that living in these sins is “normal” can lead to a slew of other problems in your life. By knowing these sins and watching for them though, you can strengthen your walk with God and prevent slipping into a lifestyle that promotes sin.
As with many other things in Christianity, we can take lessons on this topic from fictional characters in our culture. Though these characters were not likely created with these lessons in mind, we can learn from them in our daily lives. We can even show our friends, while watching a movie or playing a game with them, how these characters reflect lessons in our faith.
The villains highlighted in this article do a good job of illustrating what the Seven Deadly Sins are and how they can cause us to do things we wouldn’t normally do. We can use these characters’ stories as shining examples of why we should watch out for these sins, and let these stories prevent us from having to learn these lessons the hard way firsthand. As with The Gospel Explained for Geeks, I used a color scheme that I got from a site dedicated to teaching the Seven Deadly Sins to help illustrate this article, and I included a free pdf download that you can print off and give to friends or use to teach a class at church. We also have a fiction piece on our site, Iscariot, that gives a unique look at the Seven Deadly Sins as well. I would encourage you to take a look at that short story when you finish with this piece.
Before we get started, I would like to mention that I didn’t realize how heavy this article would have to be to address sin when I started it. I have tried to keep it as enjoyable and non-condemning as I can, so please don’t feel like I am trying to brow-beat everyone here. I am only attempting to draw similarities to the villains and the sins that we can see in them, as well as show that there is a lesson we can learn from the connection–a good lesson that can help us draw closer to God. Please read through to the end where everything ties together positively. With that said, these are the Seven Deadly VillSins, (see what I did there?) and the lessons we can learn from them:
Lust – Blue
As the most iconic vampire in history, there have been many different tellings of Dracula’s story and origins. A central theme in many of these stories, though, is his undying thirst. He is so driven by this constant lust for satisfaction that he finds himself in an unending quest to find his next victim. Alongside his thirst, he often comes across a woman that draws his interest and leads him to do everything from trying to change his inherent nature as a vampire to practical genocide. He destroy cities and creates a legion of followers to do his bidding, all in the search for sustenance.
Dracula’s lust for sating his thirst and courting a lady quite often leads to his ultimate demise in these stories. Following these ambitions blindly in many works has drawn him into unfavorable circumstances that lead to the protagonist finally being able to get the upper hand on him (when the protagonist wouldn’t have otherwise been able to). Quite often, Dracula finds himself outside of his well-protected castle during daylight, or leading the hero directly to the place he rests during the day when he is completely vulnerable.
While Dracula’s lust has him doing unspeakable acts just to quench his thirsts, our lust can lead us to doing things that are pretty bad too. We can find ourselves in unsavory places while chasing that attractive girl or guy, or find ourselves participating in activities that we wouldn’t have otherwise in an attempt to catch their attention. We didn’t initially see ourselves getting in a fight at a club or posting supportive comments on social media about the Illuminati (I do actually know Christians that have gone this far), but we let our affections get the best of us and made some poor decisions as a result. Before we knew it, we even found ourselves wondering whether or not God even existed. And it all leads back to one lustful relationship.
Another problem lust can lead to is sex before marriage. Sexual immorality is rampant in modern culture; nonbelievers won’t find a problem with lust leading to sex outside of marriage, but we have been instructed differently (1 Corinthians 7:2). When we allow lust into our hearts, we can be driven into temptation to engage in this behavior as well. We definitely don’t want to find ourselves pregnant before we are ready, getting sick, or making an emotional connection to the wrong person. This isn’t to say that every relationship before marriage is sinful, though. We would certainly be making some poor decisions on who we marry if we didn’t spend some time getting to know prospective spouses first through dating. We have to be careful how we view the person we are dating, though, and make sure they don’t take more precedence than they should, or that we are only thinking about a physical attraction to them.
Proverbs 6:25 “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes.”
Gluttony – Orange
Tom, Bert, and William
(The Trolls from the Hobbit)
(OK, so the trolls aren’t orange, but the fire gives them a nice orange glow in the movie.) When Bilbo and the dwarves are travelling through the Trollshaws in The Hobbit on their quest to The Lonely Mountain, they end up battling and *SPOILER* getting captured by some trolls who begin preparing to eat them. The creatures’ pot bellies lead us to believe that they certainly aren’t hurting for food, but they prepare a sizable feast for themselves, regardless. Where they could have likely sufficed with one or two of the heroes for a meal, their gluttonous nature leads them to plot on preparing them all for a single meal.
In their desire to satisfy their seemingly-unending appetite, they let the coming of dawn catch them off-guard. Being stone trolls, they have to live in caves and dark places due to sunlight turning them into statues, so the sunrise causes a serious problem for them. Instead of being satisfied with enough to feed them, they let their hungry eyes lead them to being turned into unliving stone. In this situation, there could have been a number of outcomes, both favorable and unfavorable for the trolls, but following their own gluttonous desires ended up costing the trolls their lives. Had they been in better health, they may have even escaped back into the cave when they began to realize dawn was upon them, but they were left hopeless beneath the sun’s rays. Also, if they were healthy, they might have bested the party sooner and might not have run out of time trying to cook them.
Gluttony is particularly dangerous in our society, as it is typically an overlooked sin. We stuff our pie-holes to the point that our health begins to degenerate, have even created competitions dedicated to eating, and allowed our holidays to become centered around food. Gluttony oftentimes segues into slothful behaviors, fosters lust for food, and effects what we can do in following God’s will for our lives because our health isn’t conducive for activities we need to participate in. Our ministry can’t be healthy if we aren’t, so we have to be careful not to let our bellies get in way of our ambitions. Moral of the lesson: don’t be a troll.
Proverbs 23:20-21 “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”
Greed – Yellow
Wario has been a thorn in Mario’s side for over 20 years now. In many of the titles that the yellow-garbed antagonist appears in, his primary motivation is centered around collecting treasure or property at the expense of others. Out of necessity, Mario is called upon to save the Mushroom Kingdom from this greedy, tyrannical menace many times. The kingdom’s tenants are certainly fortunate that Wario’s plans get thwarted, or they could find themselves under the rule of a greedy, hateful leader.
Wario’s greed leads him to do very dangerous things. He goes to great lengths and hurts many innocent people that were living perfectly happy lives prior to knowing him in his quest for treasure. Left to his devices, Wario would drain the kingdom dry of its wealth and resources. Its inhabitants would be left with a desolate wasteland that would be impossible to survive in. His drive to fill his purse pushes him to poor behavior and drives him into borderline insanity. What we see as a result of Wario’s greed is the epitome of the damages it can cause in people’s lives.
While Wario’s behavior leans toward the extreme side of greed, there have been many figures in history that have done even more deplorable things in their quest for treasure, so we shouldn’t make light of it. Judas betrayed the Son of God for his greed, and he was one of His disciples (Matthew 26:14-16). We should certainly not think that we won’t go to great lengths in the name of greed. It can corrupt our thoughts and drive us away from God, so we should be careful how much we value our money.
1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a rood of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Sloth – Light Blue
No, not this sloth
Or this shredder
The primary enemy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has constantly been a challenge for them. He has been a right-hand man to Kraang, a partner with the Kraang, and even a stand-alone, super-powered human in the second movie. In the 90s cartoon series, he was often a mastermind that sat in Dimension X and sent his dim-witted lackeys, Bebop and Rocksteady, to dispatch the turtles and execute his plans (Why I don’t know.) Being slothful in his lair and letting his minions do his work is what leads to most of his failures.
Some of Shredder’s plans might have actually worked had he been the one to execute them, but Bebop and Rocksteady’s lack of critical thinking often left them as open targets for the turtles’ foiling. Sitting back and watching his cronies fail cost Shredder many missions and a lot of time. It might have cost him a lot of money, too, had he not had the support of alien technology from Kraang. In many iterations of the turtles’ history, Shredder remains behind the scenes while his followers do his bidding. As we have seen many times, though, Shredder himself is more of a challenge than the turtles can handle themselves, and if he were more involved, he could easily be successful.
We can have the same problems when we exhibit slothful behavior. Following the will of God will leave no room for laziness. When we are called to do something, it will often take a great deal of effort on our part. We can also get slothful in our relationship with Him and drift into a complacency that we weren’t intended to be in. We are told that we will find God when we seek Him with all our heart and soul (Deuteronomy 4:29). If we are lazy in our pursuit, we will fall short in our relationship with Him and fall short of His intention for our lives.
Proverbs 13:4 “A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”
Wrath – Red
When he was a child, Magneto’s parents were torn away from him and ultimately killed in a Nazi concentration camp. He saw relentless hate and killing due to prejudices during his time in Germany, and he begins to see this same treatment again toward his fellow mutants. He valiantly vows to not let what happened to his parents happen to mutantkind. The problem is that he approaches this issue with the wrong heart: a wrathful one. He leads mutants into a human genocide in an attempt to purge their evils from the face of the earth.
Magneto isn’t wrong in protecting himself and mutants. In fact, it is brave of him to take up the leadership mantle and lead his people to freedom. Had he chosen to react out of love, though, the contention between humans and mutants may have simmered into ashes. Instead, his wrathful actions throw gasoline on the fire and ignites an all-out war. His hate-filled attitude toward others leads him into shamelessly slaughtering innocents in the name of his goals. Had he partnered with Xavier and tried to lovingly show the humans the err in their opinions, the mutants would have likely gained a lot of ground. Instead, the X-MEN are forced to split their resources into battling oppression from humans and stopping Magneto from destroying innocent people.
This is why it is crucial for the church and Christ-followers to approach opponents in love (not that everyone that doesn’t go to church is an opponent, only those that intentionally blaspheme God). When someone starts a fire through hate speech against us, we only throw gas on the fire by hating them back. In the same way that humans responded favorably when Xavier approached them with peace and love, so too will people respond to us. When Pharisees preached religious laws to non-believers, they only created an uncrossable chasm between them. It wasn’t until Jesus came and filled that chasm with love that the outside world was able to come to God’s saving love (Thank you, God!). We should offer the same love to others so that we can draw them to Christ, not away from Him. By having a wrathful heart toward others, we aren’t exemplifying the love of Christ the way we should.
Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.”
Envy – Green
Loki was adopted by Odin, the king of Asgard, as a child when his birth father fell in battle. In Asgard, strength, tenacity, and bravery are revered in fighters so the citizens naturally favored the other prince, Thor, to his smaller brother. It is these circumstances that led Loki into behaving out of envy for the acceptance his brother got from their people. His deceitful acts and treacherous plots led to giving him the title, “the god of mischief.” When he got older, his behavior became more dangerous as he began trying to take over Asgard and the other eight realms.
Out of his desire for the acceptance and glory Thor received, Loki became a formidable villain. His quest for domination, and thus “acceptance,” led to mass havoc in Asgard and even on Earth. Thor constantly finds himself chasing his step brother into dangerous circumstances in order to prevent worlds from being massacred and subsequently conquered by the deranged Loki. Admittedly, had Odin shown more love toward Loki these events might not have taken place, but the mischievous prince ultimately chose to follow his envious heart instead of seeking acceptance in healthy ways.
This is the toll that envy can take on our lives as well. We can find ourselves doing all kinds of things, seeking the acceptance we see our peers getting from friends. In fact, the very first murder occurred when Cain was envious of God’s approval, the same way Loki was of Odin’s (Genesis 4:3-8). When a friend appears to be getting more blessings from God than we feel is right, we can let envy into our heart like Loki. We should be careful to seek God’s affection in a healthy way and not compare blessings. It’s also easy to find ourselves being envious of our peer’s possessions, and this can lead us away from God and to more monetary gain as well. Diligence towards our relationship with God is key here.
James 3:16 “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
Pride – Violet
Arguably Batman’s most iconic enemy, the Joker is a card-carrying psychopath. He creates insane scenarios that Batman has to think creatively to overcome. While it is nearly impossible to draw a simple conclusion to Joker’s motives, one thing, among other things, helps to drive him on: his pride. By thinking he can outwit Batman, when history so clearly tells him he can’t, the Joker shows that he has steel-hard pride in himself. Often times, we see Batman turn the tables in his favor by pointing out the error in the Joker’s plan to him, thus hurting his pride, infuriating him, and causing him to slip up.
For the sake of keeping his pride intact, the Joker has massacred a great deal of innocent lives. His drive to show that he is better than Batman has caused him to do some sickening things throughout the course of history. If not for Batman, Gotham would likely be in ruin or a raving madhouse at the hands of the Joker. The worst part about the Joker’s pride is that, just when he thinks he has his nemesis beat, he usually lets his guard down and Batman takes that advantage to overcome him. A little humility, and the Joker might just learn the lesson he needs from his failures to beat Batman.
Pride is also a terrible vice for us. When we think too much of ourselves, we tend to take over control of our lives and send them careening off of a cliff. We build presuppositions on the way things work in the world, based on our life experiences, and make poor choices that can hurt our lives and those around us. Lessons that God is trying to teach us in our lives are also impossible to learn if we think we have everything figured out. We have to keep a humble attitude in all things. This sin can blind us to our surroundings and drive a wedge between us and God.
Pride can be particularly hard to overcome because it can be hard to define. There is some gray area between pride and confidence. We have to have confidence to accept salvation and to approach others with the Gospel, but also we have to be careful that we don’t take pride in ourselves when God works through us. The best way to overcome this is to remind ourselves that Christ is at the center of our works, and that it is Him working through us. We are a very small part of this world, flowers in a field that wither (1 Peter 1:24), but God loves each of us immeasurably.
Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
These self-damaging sins can be the cause of great strife in our lives. We have to work with diligence to identify them in our lives and fight against them. The great thing about being a Christian, though, is that we know we have Someone walking alongside us to help us overcome these sins. Christ paid the price so we could be freed from these sins and live a chain-free life on earth. He gives His Spirit to guide us and help us discern right from wrong so we can draw nearer to Him and join Him in Heaven one day. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” We can lean on God, and He will help us through this life.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”