Take a look at that title again – and please note the lower-case “g” on the word “god.” There’s a reason for that.

As a Catholic gal – not just one of those Christmas & Easter Catholics who take up the front pews during high holy days while skipping out on mass the rest of the year, but a true, practicing Catholic – I’m well-versed in the idea of sin. We Catholics spend a lot of time talking about sin, praying about sin, asking for forgiveness for our sins, repenting for our sins, and then (all too often) committing that sin all over again. It’s a vicious cycle.

One of the sins I struggle with the most is also one of the so-called “7 Deadly Sins” – Greed (note the upper-case “G” on that word!).

In fact, each time I go to Reconciliation – the Catholic sacrament of asking for God’s forgiveness – I find myself talking to the priest about my struggles with greed. And what I always come out realizing (and what I tend to forget in the days, weeks, and months that follow) is that when I’m at my weakest, I can put my love of money ahead of my love of what’s really important: family, friends, and (for religious folks like me) God.

A few examples –

When I first started my new full-time job last year, I was loathe to give up all the freelance work I’d accumulated. Instead, I found myself working 70 hour weeks, all in pursuit of the mighty dollar. I largely did this at the expense of quality time with my family, friends, and even started skipping on Sunday mass as I struggled to find the time to finish all this extra work I’d taken on.

All too often, I find myself judging others based not on their innate, God-given qualities – ie, someone is a child of God – but because of their status. And what’s the most powerful status symbol? Money – what car do they drive? How big is their house? What kind of clothes do they wear? I start valuing their net worth more than I value their actual worth in the eyes of God (FYI – we’re ALL worthy, whether we’re sinners or saints).

In all these situations, my sin is replacing God with money. And, if you’re a believer in the 10 Commandments, you can probably see the obvious: that I’m worshiping a false idol and putting something (money) above God. Those are two BIG no-nos.

And this isn’t just a problem if you’re “religious” like me. Any time we put money – or the pursuit of it – ahead of what’s really important in our lives (hint: personal relationships!), we’re doing a disservice not only to ourselves, but to the people we love.

Can you think of any situations when you put money above those you love?

Libby Balke
Libby Balke