Sometimes we mistakenly think of the magnitude of sins in a wrong way. We talk of “little” sins as being those which really do not “count” because they seem so innocent when compared to major blunders which only the most ungodly do. The Catholic Church even has the same view of sins which are characterized as venial and mortal sins.
When one has this mindset, he struggles to figure out how eating fruit from a tree in the Garden of Eden could be so wrong. How could such an “innocent” act be compared to the sin mentioned in in the next chapter where a brother kills his own brother? Surely, murder must be a greater sin than eating fruit.
The same mindset struggles to deal with the “little” sin Saul committed in First Samuel chapter thirteen. Saul had been king for only one year when he was confronted by the Philistine army which had 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen. Saul’s army had only 3,000 soldiers. The prophet Samuel told the king that he would come to the battlefront and make sacrifices to God to seek His blessing in the conflict. For some unknown reason, Samuel was delayed, and Saul’s army was about to flee even before the battle was begun. He knew he could never defeat the Philistines without the Lord’s help and, though he was not a priest, he went ahead and offered the sacrifice. How could such be wrong? If it was a sin, it had to be a “little” one. Yet God did not see it this way. Saul’s “little” sin caused the kingdom to be taken from the lineage of Saul. Our view of “little” and “big” sins is often so wrong.
While the Bible does not use these words to describe sin, it does speak of “full grown” sins (Jas. 1:15). This verse describes the enticement of sin and the entrance into sin as the birth of sin. However, sin does not remain a “baby” sin. If it is not dealt with, it grows and grows in our lives. We often fail to realize that any sin can become an addiction. Peter described this process when he talked about Christians escaping the pollution of sin through following Christ but then are again “…entangled therein and overcome” (2 Pet. 2:20). Sin has remarkable power, and when we have waited until it grows we sometimes leave the Lord.
Joseph was enticed by Potiphar’s wife. He ran! Had he stayed he might have fallen into the bondage of sin. David was tempted and did not run! Look at the ruin such brought to his life and family.
“Little” sins may seem rather innocent when we are first enticed by them, but yielding to “little sins” from a heart set on ignoring God opens the door to the bondage of sin. When you sin, repent. Do not let it become full grown!