Sin of sloth


When it comes to your non-spiritual life, what makes a certain amount of laziness “sinful”?

I’m a student in high school. is it sinful if I decide not to do my homework? Is it sinful if I don’t pay as much attention in class as I should? I struggle with this back-and-forth because to me, sometimes these things just don’t feel worth it. For example, if I’m in French class, and the teacher is doing a lesson and assigns homework on reflexive verbs, and I can already use reflexive verbs proficiently, how important is it that I pay attention, take notes, do the homework, ect? Homework is only 10% of the grade so it’s really very easy to skip assignments here and there and still get an A. If I’m in algebra 2 class, and the teacher teaches a lesson on graphing a geometric sequence, and by the end of the lesson I fully understand what’s going on…why do I need to do the homework? It feels redundant and a waste of time.

I appreciate the need for homework in classes like English and theatre. I work on and put plenty of effort into writing essays, preparing monologues, ect. It’s different because in English and theatre, the homework is to directly practice what you are training to do. That’s not the case in a fill-in-the-blank French worksheet or an algebra 2 problem set. Those are just busy work.

Is this laziness? Or is this using my time wisely? Is this the sin of sloth, or no?


I am also a High School student that deals with the same thing. Sometimes I don’t want to do some of my work and sometimes I put off doing my work until the last day before its due. I know Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins so it must lead to more larger sins. Next time I go to confession I am going to confess to being lazy in my school work.


It may be a fault or venial but not a serious sin not to do the homework you’ve described, not just against the sin of sloth but also against pride. On the other hand, bearing your crosses and submitting in obedience to your superiors (in this case, your teachers) can certainly lead to holiness. If these exercises are so redundant to you than they should be easy for you as well. Offering up the time it takes to do them would be an excellent exercise in the virtue of humility.


If you want to pass your classes, do the homework!


When sloth becomes a deep-seated habit in one area, it can easily spread to another, and another, and another. A general lethargy might develop that permeates all the activity of life, right down to avoiding things that really must be done because that gets in the way of things you’d rather do. Self discipline should be practiced because the practice makes perfect, to use a cliche. If we are self disciplined, doing things because they are expected of us, we will learn to steel our will to do greater things than we once imagined we might do. Our will power becomes honed to the degree that others will look to us to accomplish tasks only a person with considerable will power can accomplish. Doors of opportunity get opened to us because we are dependable, and everybody loves a dependable person. Hardly anyone loves a person who does only what he has to do and resents being asked to do any more.

Because you asked the question, this answer is offered, because I am dependable, and I’m not indolent enough to ask myself why I should bother myself to answer. :wink:

  1. Respect. You may or may not respect the individual who is your teacher, but you should respect the position they hold. In the future you may have a supervisor give you an assignment that feels redundant and a waste of time - and it may be. But they have to right to give you the assignment and you have the responsibility to respect that right and do it anyway. Ditto for your parents. :wink:

  2. Example. You are not aware of it, but every day your actions are viewed and noticed by many other people - especially your peers. You do not seem to disagree that doing homework can help someone who needs it. By doing the homework (even if you feel you don’t need it) you are setting a good example for those who do need it - but have trouble seeing that they do.

  3. Practice. Whether it is mathematical functions or French verbs, it is a simple fact that the more we do something, the more proficient (and efficient) we become at it. Therefore, doing the homework now with focus will help you become that much faster at doing it in general - for those times and subjects when you will find it quite helpful. I’m not speaking simply of mastering the subject matter itself, but finding, processing and handwriting (or typing) as activities in themselves.

  4. Love. Love of your mother’s (or father’s) sanity when they see your grades online and see the zeros and start to freak out over them - even if they are only 10% of the grade and you’re pulling A’s in the class. Trust me - it’s usually genetically engineered for parents to stress over this no matter what logic you use. :smiley:

  5. A Happier Life. Unless you have an uncaring, slothful teacher - and a rather laid back parent - you will NOT have peace in your life should you choose not to do the homework. A few minutes here and there getting something scratched out to turn in can save you many lectures, much fuss, and the possible confiscation of your electronics or keys.:thumbsup:

As far as sinfulness goes - no, I don’t think this qualifies. There is nothing sinful about wanting to make the best use of time and resources - and if this wasn’t an issue dealing with authority (teachers/parents) then it would completely up to you whether the benefit of doing it would be worth the effort involved. It’s not though - so see my reasons above. :wink:

But sloth would be more along the lines of refusing to do any work while demanding others do it for you (imuo).

Now, please excuse me while I go tell my own son to go turn out the lights and get to sleep (sleep/homework - homework/sleep - parents always have something to worry about) big grin


Spiritual Sloth.

Can’t be bothered to pay attention during Mass.
Can’t be bothered to pray.
Can’t be bothered to go to Mass today.



Father John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary:

SLOTH. Sluggishness of soul or boredom because of the exertion necessary for the performance of a good work. The good work may be a corporal task, such as walking; or a mental exercise, such as writing; or a spiritual duty, such as prayer. Implicit in sloth is the unwillingness to exert oneself in the performance of duty because of the sacrifice and the effort required. As a sin, it is not to be confused with mere sadness over the inconvenience involved in fulfilling one’s obligations, nor with the indeliberate feelings of repugnance when faced with unpleasant work. It becomes sinful when the reluctance is allowed to influence the will and, as a result, what should have been done is either, left undone or performed less well than a person is responsible for doing. Sloth may also mean a repugnance to divine inspirations or the friendship of God due to the self-sacrifice and labor needed to co-operate with actual grace or to remain in the state of grace. This kind of laziness is directly opposed to the love of God and is one of the main reasons why some people, perhaps after years of virtuous living, give up in the pursuit of holiness or even become estranged from God. (Etym. Middle-English slowthe, slow.)


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