Being that our 13-month-old son, Timmy, is as fearless as he is, and being that he has already performed many daredevil feats from which he somehow miraculously escaped unharmed, my husband and I have asked each other a few times, “So, how long do you suppose it will be before we end up in the ER with Timmy?”
That question was answered Friday night. Timmy came walking into the kitchen, tripped over his own feet and fell face-first onto a large can of green beans. The rim of the can caught him just above the bridge of his nose. Timmy cried heartily for at least 60 seconds, whereupon he got over it. I knew, however, that his cut required stitches.
So I changed his diaper and put him in a fuzzy sleeper (good hospital wear). I then loaded up all five kids in the van and took Timmy to the ER, where he got four stitches on his poor little face. If Timmy grows up with an aversion to green beans, we’ll know why.
The point of this story, other than the fact that green beans aren’t as innocent as they look, is this: Despite all his activity, despite all the things that should have done him in long before now, Timmy was overcome by … a can of green beans. Something so simple led to his defeat.
Often it’s the same with us, isn’t it? We get all the big things right, but it’s the little things that trip us up. We don’t commit adultery, rob a bank or murder anyone. But we lie, speak critically or gossip.
It’s not a temptation for me to rob a bank. I don’t have any trouble refraining from that sin, because I don’t want to commit it in the first place. But being critical? It’s a temptation to which I give in all too often.
True, some sins may have bigger consequences than others. But even what we think of as the little sins—the ones that don’t really matter much—can ruin our relationship with God and with others and cause us additional consequences we never intended.
Any sin we commit is an offense against our relationship with God as well as against God Himself. God doesn’t just care about the “biggies”; He cares about all sin, even our favorite sins that we think aren’t that big a deal. He doesn’t like them. In fact, He hates them. Yet we too often excuse them or don’t even call them what they are.
For most of us, the sins that slip in between us and God aren’t going to be things the world would care about. The things that take us down aren’t going to be things that make the front page of the paper.
No, the sins that bring about our downfall are much more likely to be things that look like not that big a deal at first.
Something like a can of green beans sitting on the floor.
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that [s]he stands take heed lest [s]he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12, ESV).
Megan Breedlove is an author, blogger and a stay-at-home mom with five children. Visit her website Manna for Moms.