Monday, August 11, 2008

The “Small Sins” Displease God, Too

Today I went to Carls Jr. (it is the West Coast’s version of Hardees) for lunch and after I ordered my food I waited patiently until they called my number so I could return to church for a meeting. As I was waiting for my number to be called, a homeless person walked in. It was very evident he was homeless. He was pushing a wheelchair with his goods contained in a basket underneath the chair. I saw him approach the self-serve soda machine and he pulled out a large McDonald’s soda cup (it had obviously been used before) and refilled his soda cup with their soda. Then he put that in a bag and put it under the wheelchair seat in his basket. Then, he proceeded to pull out a large plastic bag and fill it up with ice from the soda machine. Finally, he pulled out a water bottle and filled that up with water. After he finished filling his containers, he then pushed his wheelchair out the front door and went on his way.

I stood there stunned for a moment. Then I went up to the cashier and told her that that person just came in and filled up three different containers with their goods without paying even one penny!

She responded to say, “Oh, I know.” After standing stunned for a brief moment at her blowing off the issue, I repeated myself, “He just came in here and took your goods without paying for them and walked out.” Again she repeated herself, “I know, it’s OK.”

I thought to myself – disgusted inside – that homeless person walked in and, without even hesitating for a second, stole from Carls Jr. On top of that, the worker at Carls Jr. could have cared less that someone came in and stole from their store. Immediately I thought of David when he wrote:

Psalm 101:3–4 3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. 4 Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil.

How God must hate our attitudes when we think of “small sins” as insignificant. O how God must despise it when we commit acts of disobedience and blow it off as if it “simply just happens.” I was angry inside because that man came in and stole from Carls Jr. But then I began to think of my own heart and life and how I often offend God – even without even knowing it at times – and think so lightly of my sin against a holy God.

Was it only a soda that the homeless man stole today? Yes. But, a “small sin” is still a “sin” against an infinitely holy God who absolutely hates sin (and, consequently, sinners). It is my prayer that Psalm 101:3–4 would be true of us – that we would hate sin, hate lawlessness, and earnestly desire to not even let the “small sins” creep into our lives.


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