I’ve heard that pride was once considered the worst of the deadly sins, but I had my doubts. Egged on by a culture that praises self-belief, I was impressed with all that I could accomplish (“honey, you can be anything!”) Then I read this,
Pride is essentially self-worship: If I want it, that’s all that matters, regardless of the consequences. Combine this spirit with sexual desire, and you have a recipe for abominable behavior. A humble heart is always going to be a chaste heart. That’s why sexual sin is best fought not just by attacking lust, but also the pride that makes lust so hurtful to others.
Suddenly I’m not feeling so cavalier about this deadliest of deadly sins. And that’s Gary Thomas’s point in “Your Seven Greatest Enemies.” He writes,
Without being fully aware of the enemies that seek to destroy us, they are allowed to do their damage under the cover of stealth.
What’s more interesting is a sin that sounds like a funny zoo animal — sloth — is still potentially deadly. Thomas again,
Sloth is greatly ignored and very dangerous. In essence, sloth is the great spiritual assassin of our time. It kills our bodies; it kills our bank accounts; it kills marriages; it kills parenting and child relationships. It kills businesses, and governments. It kills vocations, and businesses. It kills everything it touches.
Is there any hope for us in our sin-as-virtue saturated culture? Thankfully, yes. Thomas writes,
Recognizing the breadth of sin and how it affects us spawns humility, which in turn assaults our pride.
Since pride is the foundation of the other sins, letting sin-struggles humble us (instead of ignoring them, or downplaying them, or pretending they’re not really “serious” sins) is, ironically, one of the best ways to fight future sin.
…Knowing this list, and being humiliated by my feeble attempts to withstand the seven deadly sins’ daily assault on my spiritual health, is actually a productive exercise, because it reminds me of my need for God’s grace. That, in turn, grows humility, and humility builds up and fortifies every other virtue.