We're all guilty of it, we've all been on both ends of this sin, and it hurts every relationship we have had. So what is the 'Great Sin'? Pride. Pride is the root of many of our sins, the root of many of our inabilities to improve our hearts, pride is what often times prevents us from honestly examining ourselves and seeing where we need to be more like God and less like us. And the type of pride I am talking about, is the pride that is buried in all of us. It's not being proud in a good day's work, proud of your children, proud of someone complimenting you, etc....but to a certain degree, the pride I am talking about is a perversion or an uncontrolled obsession with the mentioned examples.
C.S Lewis wrote,
"In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that - and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison - you do not know God at all. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you."
Pride leads to judgement, to jealousy, to anger, to spite, and many other sins because it becomes more about how we measure up to the person next to us, and not about bringing glory to God. That is the difference from being proud of something and being prideful. When we are proud, we accept compliments but recognize that we succeeded because of the gifts God gave us, for his glory NOT for our own. How many times do we get upset when we don't feel like we were recognized for something we did? That is our pride essentially wanting and longing for people to see us as superior or better. As an athlete this resonates with me, how often do we want to celebrate all the good plays we made, but forget about the mistakes we made? This is what makes pride so dangerous, because we often want the most grace from other people so our pride is intact, but our pride prevents us from giving the grace in return when other people mess up.
Finally, when we give our receive advice, pride so often gets in the way of the words being said, and the truth that may or may not be there. We love to give advice, but often when someone says something true about us, whether it be a fault or a shortcoming, how quickly do we discount what they say. Pride prevents us from taking criticism, but also enables us to be the harsh critic that our friends and family might not need in that situation. Show some humility, show some love that person, and more importantly be understanding and receive constructive advice from people that you trust. They see you a lot clearer than you do sometimes.
There is no love in pride, there is no humility in pride. God calls us to be humble before him. Jesus tells a parable about two men going before God to pray, one a righteous pharisee, the other a tax collector. The pharisee praises himself before God, while the tax collector humbles himself and says, 'I am not worthy'. (Luke 1 18:9-16). So give glory to God in everything that you do, because nothing we have is our own, but everything belongs to Him.