Catholic or not here is a guideline that will help you examine your conscience prior to confessing to a priest or to God in private. Before you feel the need to confess your sins, you need to know what they are and understand what is considered to be the 7 Deadly Sins.
Pride is an excessive belief in one’s own abilities that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride can also be known as Vanity.
Ask yourself these questions about pride:
Do I pray each day to depend on God or do I not pray and rely on myself?
Am I willing to share my weakness, sin and suffering with God and others or do I try to keep it all together on my own?
Do I regularly go to the sacrament of reconciliation or privately to God as the antidote to my pride as I face up to my sinfulness?
Am I judgmental, condemning and merciless person?
Do I talk about my accomplishments and myself a lot? Do I speak more than I listen? Do I put the spotlight on me instead of others?
Do I lack JOY in my life because I put myself before Jesus and others?
Do I recognize everything I have and do are gifts from God or do I think I am the giver of any gifts I have?
Do I consider myself better than others who are less fortunate, less educated, from a different background/race/creed?
Do I humbly accept God’s gifts to me and his love for me on the cross?
Envy is the desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation. Sadness at the sight of another’s goods/gifts and immoderate desire to get them for oneself, even unjustly. Taking joy in misfortune of neighbor or displeasure caused by his prosperity.
Ask yourself these questions about envy:
Do I desire other people’s talents and gifts for my self? Do I want the money, status or relationships they have? Am I blind to my own gifts, especially the gift to love? Am I happy when something bad happens to others and am I bothered when others do well? Do I forget who I am in God’s sight, that I am his beloved daughter/son and he has shared the fullness of his inheritance with me, overflowing love and life forever?
Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
Ask yourself these questions about gluttony:
How much food do I eat at each meal and how much do I need?
How much money should I spend on others and how much should I spend on my family or myself? How much should I give to the church or other worthy causes?
Do I spend, buy clothes/things and shop too much? How many pairs of shoes do I really need?
Thousands of people die each day due to lack of food and safe water. How much am I giving to the poor, homeless and hungry?
Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.
Ask yourself these questions about lust:
Do I run my life according to my pleasures like food, money, travel, sexuality, etc. or God’s principles?
Do I view others I am attracted to as sexual objects or as sons and daughters of God? Do I reverence the human person or use them for my own personal, selfish pleasure? Have I been totally faithful to my marriage vows? Do I always love with God’s dignity?
Is pornography/lust a master I serve that is running and ruining my life?
Do I hold myself accountable for lust through confession and telling other friends.
Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath. Revenge, kill, wound, wish evil.
Ask yourself these questions about anger:
Do I have unforgiveness poisoning my heart and relationships?
Who do I hate or want to do evil to?
Do I pray for that person and forgive?
Can I forgive myself?
Will I let God forgive me?
Do I gossip?
Do I slander or defame others?
Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.
Ask yourself these questions about greed:
Do I work harder and harder to make more and more and buy more and bigger?
Do I place my hope in money/things when I know none of it will help me at the grave?
Do I put things over people and relationships?
Is my “gain” in life Christ or something less?
Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.
Ask yourself these questions about sloth:
do I pray and go to mass or church with an open ready and seeking heart?
Do I continue to read, study and grow intellectually?
Do I cut corners spending time with God, my kids, and family?
Do I cut corners with homework/learning, work at the office and at home?
D I say daily, “I love you” to those whom I love? Am I quick to ask for forgiveness from those who I have hurt?
Am I quick to restore relationships and not let the sun set on my wrath?