No Such Thing as Humble Sin

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Recently, my husband and I have been studying on the topic of humility. As we’ve been searching and pondering on this topic, I’ve been trying to think about the role of humility–and the opposite role of pride–in my daily life. As I was reflecting on sin during the Sacrament last week, a thought came to me: there is no humble sin.

In President Benson’s powerful 1989 conference talk on pride, he explains that “The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.'” Every time we sin we are in a state of opposition toward God. I like to think of repentance as changing anything in my life that is not in accordance with God’s will to be more like His will–really, changing my life to be more like God. Everything, even if seemingly innocuous, that is not in accordance with God’s will is by definition in a state of opposition to it. It is a source of pride. And even little remnants of pride can have devastating consequences in the long run (just look at the downfall of the Nephite nation).

We personally must be stripped of all pride, because if we aren’t, as Alma states, then we “are not prepared to meet God” (Alma 5:28). We must continually be striving to come unto Christ because it is Christ who will “show unto [us our] weakness” so that we will be humble. And if we will recognize and accept His corrections, if we will rely on Christ’s grace and humble ourselves in our weakness, then He will “make weak things become strong unto [us]” (Ether 12:27). In the same conference talk already mentioned, President Benson states that “pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance.” I think we in part fail to realize that not only is all pride sin, but all sin is also pride. Sometimes I fear we are (I am) drowning in it.

Thankfully, there is an “antidote” according to President Benson, and that of course is humility. As we become more humble, all sorts of sin in our lives will be washed clean by the grace of Christ. I am grateful for the little insight I’ve had recently into pride and humility–that there is no such thing as a humble sin. All sin has an element of pride, but we may receive the antidote to this awful vice as we come unto Christ and experience His grace.

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