The Subtle Deception of Sin

by Candy Arrington

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3 NIV

In recent years, various celebrities have pled guilty to wrongdoing after vehemently denying charges, and sports figures have admitted cheating to win. When I read these accounts, my first response is indignation. How could these public figures set such a bad example and maintain a seeming lack of remorse?

And then, as is often His way, the Lord whispers, “You are the same.”

“Me? No, I’m not!”

“Remember high school Latin class?”

“Oh, that.”

It began innocently, although cheating is never innocent. There were only four of us in the class and our teacher was old and partially blind. One day we were surprised by a pop quiz, and one of the girls slid her open book into her desk and looked up the answers. Soon, the others were doing the same. I resisted until a day when I hadn’t studied the vocabulary. I was going to fail the quiz…unless. Everyone was doing it. Why shouldn’t I?

Soon, an open book in my desk was commonplace. Then, prior to the exam, which we all were to be exempted from because of our high, ill-gotten grades, the one who began the practice of cheating outed us all. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and mad. Why had she exposed us without warning, without giving us a chance to stop? I’d been caught, and my sin was out there for all to know.

Satan is a sly guy. He convinces us sin is fine, as long as we don’t get caught. He whispers, “Go ahead. You’re safe. No one will find out.”

So, we reason there is nothing wrong with tiny sins—jumping a turnstile, running a red light, fabricating excuses, enhancing the truth. We look at others, measure our sin against theirs, and think what I’m doing isn’t that bad. But don’t be deceived by the father of lies. Sin is sin and all sin is equal. There is no grading scale—no this-sin-is-less-bad-than-another. Every sin has the same effect—separation from God.

Perhaps the greatest deception of sin is the lies we tell ourselves to justify our actions and attitudes, and the only way to avoid deceiving ourselves is to actively work to stay off the slippery slope of lies. You see, sin has a snowball effect. Once you lie, to yourself or someone else, you usually have to tell another lie to cover the first one.

My grandfather was a wise man. One of his life precepts was: If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said. In other words, if you lie, you must remember the lie so you can make sure you re-create it later. Most of us aren’t smart enough to juggle many lies for very long. So why try?

Start today. Make a conscious effort to change the things in your life that you consider “tiny” sins. Ask God to help you. One of the first steps in overcoming sin is admitting what you’re doing is sin and that it’s wrong. Then repent, which means to go in the opposite direction, making an intentional about-face.

While we may be indignant about the sin of others, we’re all just as tarnished. Admit it, and then move forward with honesty, believing you can change through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit within. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to make an effort to be more like Him.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles and devotionals on faith, personal growth, and moving through and beyond difficult life circumstances. Her books include: Life On Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books),  When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H Publishing Group). Candy is a native South Carolinian, who gains writing inspiration from historic architecture, vintage photographs, nature, and the application of Biblical principles to everyday life. Learn more about Candy at www.CandyArrington.com, where you can also read her blog, Forward Motion: Moving Beyond What Holds You Back. Candy’s new book, Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Wellprovides insights on learning from and growing through a time of waiting.

Join the conversation: Are there “tiny” sins you tolerate in your heart?

2 thoughts on “The Subtle Deception of Sin

  1. Great blog. LOVED: Perhaps the greatest deception of sin is the lies we tell ourselves to justify our actions and attitudes.

    Like

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