What is the worst sin in the world? Is it murder, rape, child molestation…?
Here are some hints:
It is the original sin.
It is the foundation of all other sins.
When you commit this sin, you usually don’t even know it.
Although it is the worst sin, you will virtually never hear a sermon or read a blog about it.
People who dislike it in others are usually the ones who commit it the most.
This worst sin carries a biblical promise that no one wants fulfilled.
The more successful you become, the more likely you are to fall to this sin.
The better you do at overcoming other sins, the more likely you are to have temptations with this one.
It is a sin everyone deals with their whole life and when they think they have it licked, that’s a sure sign they don’t!
Well, have you guessed it by now?
Yes, the worst sin in the world is pride.
Why do I say this? Because of the facts listed above:
01. It is the original sin.
This is true in two ways:
Pride caused Lucifer to be cast out of heaven. The biblical account of the fall of Lucifer is that the devil was an angel who rebelled because he wanted to be greater than Almighty God. (Ezekiel 28:17)
Pride caused mankind to be cast out of the original paradise (the Garden of Eden.) When Adam and Eve were created, the temptation from the devil was to disobey, eat of the forbidden fruit, and become “like God.” Imagine the arrogance! Incredible. (Genesis 3:5)
02. It is the foundation of all other sins.
The original sin happened as a result of pride.
But that was just the beginning. Any time we sin, we are saying:
What I want is more important than what you want.
I am greater than the law.I can trample on you, in order to do or get what I want.I’m most important, far more important than God or others.
Soren Kierkegaard said that if he asked a servant for a glass of water and the servant brought him the most expensive wine in the world, “I would dismiss him until he learned that the enjoyment consists not in what I enjoy but in getting my own way.”
This desire to get our own way leads to all other sins. That’s why this is the worst sin—it is the start of all other sin.
03. When you commit this sin, you usually don’t even know it.
Unlike other sins that are so evident, pride is disguised.
In Star Trek science fiction, Romulan and Klingon ships have cloaking technology that makes them invisible to the USS Enterprise. More than once Captain Kirk and crew have been surprised by a cloaked ship.
Pride has a built in cloak of invisibility. If you have it, you very likely won’t see it.
But others will!
04. Although it is the worst sin, you will virtually never hear a sermon or read a blog about it.
Thomas A. Tarrants, III has written; “One hears surprisingly little from church or parachurch leaders about either of these subjects [pride & humility]. In fact, what throughout history has been recognized as the deadliest of vices is now almost celebrated as a virtue in our culture.”
05. People who dislike it in others are usually the ones who commit it the most.
Do prideful people really bug you? If so, it is likely because you see in them what you dislike in yourself.
(This tendency is not unique to pride—we often dislike in others what we dislike in ourselves.)
06. It carries a biblical promise that no one wants fulfilled.
“Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 ESV)
Funny, this is such a clear, simple warning, yet we seem so unconcerned about overcoming pride.
07. The more successful you become, the more likely you are to fall to this sin.
One of the great downfalls of success, notoriety, and wealth is that they carry the burden of being tempted by pride.
I have often thanked God that I am not famous, super-successful or rich. I am not at all sure that I could handle the headiness of these traits. When I see people who have these attributes yet remain humble, I have great respect.
08. The better you do at overcoming other sins, the more likely you are to have temptations with this one.
Again, the more accomplished we are, the more we are likely to be tempted with pride.
“Look at me, how godly I am, what I did, how much I give, how much I pray.”
Now this one is tricky, because Scripture says we should be an example. Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 ESV)
The Apostle Paul said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15 ESV)
But he also said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV)
The point is: be godly and be an example, but be a humble example.
09. It is a sin everyone deals with their whole life and when they think they have it licked, that’s a sure sign they don’t!
This one seems self-evident.
Does this mean we shouldn’t try to overcome it? Not at all!
What this means is that we should never STOP trying to overcome pride. Help to do that will be the subject of another blog.