Once a wise woman I knew drew a line. In the beginning the line began to go off-course, with a slant so small you wouldn’t think it made any difference. The smallest slant. Eventually…when she stopped…
…the path had gone so off course you wouldn’t have known the destination where it ended up from the straight place it had begun.
That picture did more than words could to explain to me how even the smallest errors can lead to destruction. Just the smallest, tiniest bit off course in the beginning can lead to a place far, far away from where you want to be in the end.
That, and a book called the Pursuit of Holiness (yes, I’ve recommended it before and I’ll recommend it again) helped me understand how crucial it is to be righteous in small things.
There are “small” sins, like taking too many servings of dessert, not quite sweeping the entire kitchen, not doing our best at Latin homework, going on Facebook when we shouldn’t, ect.
We tend to excuse these sins as small and unimportant. Would God really care about something as small as eating too much dessert?
And then there are “big” sins. Sins that are we can’t deny are bad–hating someone, lying, stealing, watching porn, sexual sins, ect…
These we know are wrong and try to avoid them. These, we think, are the ones that are real concerns and we need to stop. Perhaps some of these you struggle with.
But there’s something wrong. If, in a garden, we only took out all the big weeds that annoyed us and left in all the small ones, would that ultimately achieve the goal of a healthy garden?
Consider, for a moment, how “small” sins might be Satan’s way of convincing us to disobey in ways, he tells us, are “trivial” and “unimportant”.
However, if we can’t control ourselves with smaller sins, how will we be able to resist bigger temptations?
A regular “small sin” pattern for me tends to lean towards nipping food from the refrigerator before meals (such a small sin!), then getting on the computer when my parents have expressly said not to (but it’s only real quick, I just need to check this one thing real quick and then I won’t do it again). The problem is, once I’m on the computer, I am pulled into distractions and sometimes find things that are not really good things.
And finding bad things leads me to think bad things, say bad things and do bad things.
All because I gave into a small temptation of illegal computer time.
So it goes.
The smallest sin–if we give into that, why is the second smallest wrong? And if we do the second smallest will anyone really notice if we decide to go on and do the next sin?
Beware the “one last time” fallacy.
Beware the “they’re not here, so I won’t get in trouble” fallacy–God’s always here.
Beware the “it’s such a small thing–maybe it’s not even bad at all”–fallacy.
Remember, small actions may make or break you as a Christian. Always watch and pray.
(This is Part One, showing us the effects of small actions in sin. Part Two will be out on Friday showing the opposite–how small good things might just not be as unimportant as you think.)