Christians tend to separate sins into two categories: “big sins” and “little sins.” It’s sometimes said that little wrongs are mine and big transgressions are yours. Perhaps it’s just as common for the church to think that big sins are only the transgressions associated with social disgrace. For example, a man sins big if he commits adultery, embezzles money, traffics in drugs, murders a neighbor, or performs an abortion.
This view overlooks a very serious offense. Pride may parade itself with little fear of public censure, and yet it’s completely odious to God. Arrogance corrupts the heart with selfishness, poisons the mind toward other people made in God’s image, and stands in the way of repentance and salvation. Solomon lists “six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers” (Prov. 6:16-19, NIV). This catalogue of abominations certainly includes socially disgraceful things – such as bloody hands. But what sin heads the list? Haughty eyes. Conceit.
The Christian guilty of pride may deal with this sin in one of two ways. One choice is to let God humble him, to bring him crashing down. This was the course chosen by the people of Israel in the desert. Moses said: “You shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger” (Deut. 8:2-3). A Christian’s other choice is to humble himself by passionately seeking and imitating Jesus. For obvious reasons, this is the better choice.