Then he showed me another vision. I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was using a plumb line to see if it was still straight. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” I answered, “A plumb line.” And the Lord replied, “I will test my people with this plumb line. I will no longer ignore all their sins. Amos 7:7-8 (NLT)

I remember a Sunday School story from years ago. It was the story of a little girl that got caught lying to her Grandma. After being ‘caught red handed’ the little girl confessed that she lied but it didn’t seem like such a big deal because it was just ‘a little white lie’.

The wise grandmother said nothing. She asked the little girl if she’d like to help make brownies, which of course, she did. After adding all the ingredients from the recipe grandma handed the girl a small bowl and asked her to go out to the barn and ask grandpa for a small bowl of manure to put in the brownies so they could finish baking them.

The girl was appalled! “Grandma! We can’t put manure in the brownies. It will ruin them.” Grandma assured her that it would only be a little bit of manure, not much, and she’d hardly taste it.” The argument continued until grandma smiled and put her hand on the little girls arm.

Honey, you’re right. We won’t put any manure in the brownies. Even a little bit would completely ruin the whole batch. But that’s like sin, even little white lies destroy our relationship with God and with others.

It was a lesson well learned by the little girl…and me for that matter. The enemy wants us to believe that small sins don’t matter. Especially those things we do in private that only affect ourselves.  “The Lie he wants us to believe is that “Little sins only hurt me.”

This lie of the enemy is flawed in two ways. First of all, there are no small sins in God’s eyes. Sin is sin. Period. It doesn’t matter how large it is or how small it is. It isn’t important if the thing you have done affects thousands or yourself alone. In God’s eyes there is no difference.

That’s a good news/bad news situation for us. Because there is no ‘sin hierarchy’ in God’s eyes then anything you have done that you (or others) consider horrendous is on the same level as what others may consider ‘minor sins.’ The bad news is that you are no better off than any other sinner! This puts us in the same class as a child molester, or a terrorist or any other person. Sin is sin. Period.

The other flaw in the enemies lie to us is that sin is something we do against God, not people. People may have the scars. People may bear the pain of our sin. But ultimately our sin isn’t against ourselves or anyone else. It’s against God himself. That makes his forgiveness and acceptance of us even more amazing.

When we buy into the enemies lie about sin we tend to rationalize about it (He did it so I can too; If you think this is bad, you should see what she did; I know it’s wrong but…) or we play the comparison game (at least I’m not as bad as…). When we do this we are trying to live by human standards and not God’s standards.

In Isaiah, God says, I’ll set the plumb line. I’ll do the measuring. If you fall short of my standards in ANY way you will be judged. Only by the Grace of God and the forgiveness offered through Jesus Christ can we approach God.

Increased love for Jesus leads naturally to obedience just as increased love for our lover drives us to want to do whatever we can to make that person know how much we love them. The sign of a person that loves you is that he/she encourages you to do what you excel at; supports your dreams; seeks your good, not theirs. That’s what Jesus has done for each of us.

In spite of our sin we are loved dearly by him. That’s why he came to die for us. God will do whatever he can to build a passionate love relationship with you but obedience is the key to that relationship.

Truth Statement: Sin is sin and affects our relationship with God regardless of how it affects others. (But complete forgiveness is available through Jesus Christ no matter what we’ve done, big or small!)

PRAYER: Father God, I’ve been listening to the lie about sin. I have many ‘little habits, or vices’ that I know are wrong but have overlooked them because I didn’t think they hurt anyone. Now I realize they hurt you and our relationship. Forgive me for the little things. Empower me to stop listening to the lie and live for you. In Jesus name, Amen.

(From the series “Lies that Keep Us from Loving Ourselves. Osceola Community Church-October 2011)

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