Lit­tle sins de­stroy

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - CHURCH - SCOTT STEW­ART Pea Ridge United Methodist and Bright­wa­ter Methodist churches Ed­i­tor’s note: The Rev. Dr. Scott Stew­art is the pas­tor of Pea Ridge United Methodist Church and Bright­wa­ter Methodist Church. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the writer. He

Most of us prob­a­bly re­mem­ber “Gul­liver’s Trav­els” writ­ten by Jonathan Swift.

Di­vided into four parts, the story tells how its hero, Gul­liver, em­barked on a se­ries of trav­els to re­mote na­tions, only to be cast up some strange land as the re­sult of calami­ties such as a ship­wreck. Book one takes him to “a voy­age to Lil­liput where he awak­ens to find him­self tied to the ground by a horde of six-inch-high Lil­liputians who view him as the Man Moun­tain. These Lil­liputians re­mind me of small sins in our lives

Not only are these sins pow­er­ful, they are also se­duc­tive be­cause of there very size. They en­able us to let down our guard. We know that we are not per­fect; thus we as­sume that a lit­tle mis­chief, a lit­tle hanky panky is not only per­mis­si­ble but in­evitable in life. Sin uses this as­sump­tion to steal into our lives when our de­fenses are down, con­vinc­ing us that there is noth­ing to worry about be­cause we can eas­ily push these sins aside.

Sel­dom are we con­fronted with clear is­sues painted black or white. More of­ten, our de­ci­sions are com­pounded out of in­nu­mer­able choices, each so small that it of­ten goes un­no­ticed. Rarely do we choose the fork in the road at one de­ci­sive mo­ment.

Many of us sup­pose that we can eas­ily han­dle the “lit­tle sins” whereas the “big” (mor­tal) sins may prove too hard to han­dle. I sus­pect that just the op­po­site is nearer the truth. Faced with mon­strous evils, such as mur­der or rape, we are sel­dom tempted and our choices are usu­ally clear. It is when the lit­tle sins be­gin to in­fil­trate our lives that we be­gin to have trou­bles. Be­cause we think we can “han­dle” a mere hand­ful of sins, par­tic­u­larly of the modest va­ri­ety, we think we can han­dle them all.

To gen­er­al­ize from decades of pas­toral coun­sel­ing: the al­co­holic never sets out to be­come cap­tive to a bot­tle; he only wants to sip on a so­cial drink. The em­bez­zler never seeks to bank­rupt his com­pany; he only “bor­rows” some needed funds that he fully in­tends to re­pay as the com­pany pros­pers. Sin never shows us the con­se­quences of our com­pro­mises. In­stead, it poses as a harm­less midget so that we will sim­ply shrug and not bother to ban­ish it from our lives.

Per­haps the key ques­tion to build­ing a life of in­tegrity is: What in­flu­ences are di­rect­ing my life? What are the lit­tle sins that keep you from be­ing the per­son Christ wants you to be? Don’t let a six-inch Lil­liputian sin keep you from fin­ish­ing the jour­ney of faith to which God called you.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.