The Biggest Obstacle to Real Happiness

Excerpt from Chapter 3 of Beyond Shallow Faith, copyright 2018, 2019

I believe one sin[i] causes God more sadness than any other. I am not referring to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—the so-called “unforgivable” sin[ii]—for I suspect very few souls are jeopardized by that particular offense. Nor am I talking about murder, torture, or any sexual misbehavior.

As awful as those are, their impact is dwarfed by another transgression, which is both far more pervasive and far more harmful, when viewed from God’s perspective. That transgression infects all of us to some degree, and keeps us from enjoying the relationship that is the purpose of our existence, while also jeopardizing our chance for eternal life. I speak of pride.

I am not talking about pride in the sense of positive self-esteem, justified confidence in one’s own abilities, or the satisfaction of a job well done.

I mean the haughty pride that deludes us into believing that human knowledge and achievement have no limits. I mean the conceit that convinces us that our ancestors were all superstitious idiots and morons, and that their stories and their values are worthless drivel. I mean the arrogance that tells us that we don’t need God because we are doing quite well without him, while ignoring the inevitability of death and decay. . . .

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[i]. The Greek word for “sin” is hamartia, which means “a missing of the mark”—the “mark” being God’s will or God’s law. Simply put, “sin” means to fall short of what God wants us to be. See Romans 3:23.

[ii]. See Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-29, and Luke 12:10. The nature of this unforgivable sin has been widely (and wildly) debated. I believe a person commits this sin when he or she knows that Christianity is true, yet deliberately and consciously rejects that truth and chooses to live and speak contrary to it. (See, for example, 2 Peter 2:20-22.) In my experience, such people are rare, because the vast majority of those who truly understand, accept, and live the truth of Christianity find such peace and contentment that they would never want to go back to living in darkness again. Thus, those who reject Christianity out of ignorance, misunderstanding, or skepticism—and I have been all of those—have not committed the unforgivable sin.
If you want to give your life to Christ, you can be certain that you have not committed this unforgivable sin. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. . . .” (John 6:44) A person who has committed the “unforgivable sin” will no longer be drawn to Christ by the Father.