No Small Sin

A church member was once overheard saying: “He’s a good minister, he’s just got a little pride problem.” But pride is not a “little” problem — for a minister or anyone else, as Proverbs 16:5 makes clear: “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to YHWH; assuredly he will not go unpunished.” Notice how powerfully this verse condemns what many consider a secondary sin: 

Verse 5 says is not just “some” who are proud who are abominable to Him, but EVERYONE! (Literally “all” in Hebrew).  Not just those who are living what we would consider very rebellious, sinful lives, but the so-called “religious” person, the preacher or “spiritual leader” — when THESE are proud in heart, it is abominable to YHWH also! And when WE are proud in heart, it is still abominable to God!

And notice that pride is not merely an “annoyance” to God; it is ABOMINABLE to Him.  Significantly, in Hebrew the word appears FIRST in the verse: “ABOMINABLE to YHWH …”.  This is an emphatic position in Hebrew, which serves to emphasize how much God despises this sin.

Also we see that it is not just that a proud heart is abominable to God, but that  He does nothing about it — it specifically indicates that He will punish it:  “assuredly he will not go unpunished.

We see an example of this in King Herod in Acts 12.  When the people praised him after a speech he made, Herod reveled in their praises and did not give God glory.  God had an angel strike Herod immediately, and he was filled with worms and instantly died.  This is just an example of the kind of punishment God can and will dole out to the proud. It is no small thing. Pride is abominable to God, and He will judge it.

What is so significant about pride, that would make it so odious to the Lord? First, it robs God of the glory that belongs only to Him. And second, it is the exact opposite of the quality of humility, which is necessary for us to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).

The lesson for us: do not be proud in heart about your skill or ability, possessions, appearance, circumstances, or anything else.  Be thankful to God for whatever you have and are, because it all came from HIM, and you do not deserve it. Make sure you remain humble, and not proud in heart.  Because if you are, Proverbs 16:5 promises that you will surely not go unpunished!

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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2 Responses to No Small Sin

  1. Louise says:

    Pastor Shawn, I heard a sermon on pride years ago. It bothered me so much that I went to God in prayer about it saying Father surely it is OK to be proud of your country or proud of your children. He said pride is not OK under any circumstance…He taught me to use the word “thankful” instead of “proud” and to this day I can no longer say the word…it makes me cringe to hear someone else say it…looking forward to the Discipleship class!

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