James 2:9-11 KJV
9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
I think sometimes we forget that sin is sin, disobedience to God, and is a point of separation between us and God (Isaiah 59:2, Psalm 66:18). It does not matter how big or how small the sin is, it is still sin. God does not see them as big sins, or small sins. In God’s eyes, there is only one category. It is only we as human beings who believe there are big and small sins. Why is that?
It’s called justifying our behavior. Plain and simple. Let’s say I like to gossip – get into other people’s business and tell tales all around the neighborhood and community. tales that I think might be true, but I am not really sure. But it sure sounds good! Sally Sue is having marital trouble. Cindy Jane got in trouble with her boss. I hear Jolene Ann is pregnant! Did you hear about Tommy Herbert! Whatever the tale is, we feel we must relay it, sometimes in the form of a prayer request. We think that makes it OK.
God hears every word, and He knows none if it is truthful It is here-say (notice how close that word is to heresy), and not based in reality. Some is partial truth, some is assumption, some are flat our lies. It is sin (1 Tim 5:13). One of the things that God hates is the one who sows discord among the brethren ((Prov 6:16-19). Gossip is not a good thing by any stretch pf the imagination.
But the person doing the gossip sees it as a small sin, one that certainly a loving God will overlook. After all, they haven’t murdered anyone, or stolen anything, or gone after idols. Nothing serious, right? Our justification comes from comparing ourselves to others. And do you know what that is? That is respecting people – showing preference to one above the other. That is the wrong thing to do.
There is only one person we should compare ourselves to, and that is Jesus Christ. He is the one we should want to be like (Eph 5:1-2), Gal 2:20, John 15 are just a few references). We should keep our eyes on Him, not on our neighbors or friends or church family. This is our high calling. (Rom 12:1-2).
James states that if we are guilty of even the smallest of sin, we are guilty of the whole law. As I mentioned before, God is not a respecter of persons. He is also not a respecter of sins. It is all the same to Him. His mercy is all the same to all. But we should not depend on Him showing mercy to us right away – it is His choice whether He extends that mercy or not (Rom 9:15).
I think sometimes we forget that. We think it is an automatic thing – God will forgive me no matter what I do. Well, yes He will. But His mercy may follow some tests He allows into our lives (and mercy will be there in the tests). We may not see that mercy for a little bit, even if we have repented. It is His decision, and we take it for granted because we think we have committed a “small sin”.
I have to learn that every transgression is the same in God’s eyes. I cannot justify the smallest lie, the smallest piece of gossip, the smallest anything. I must remember that all disobedience is the same in God’s eyes. I cannot justify my attitude or my lack of patience or my favoritism toward people. Justification is pride – it says I can do something that is wrong because I have an excuse. That kind of pride is always wrong.
Look to Jesus. He is our example. He is the standard God sent to show us how we should live. Teach the gospel, preach the word, heal the sick, deliver the captives, open blinded eyes and deaf ears. Do it all in Jesus name, name above all names, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And if you do mess up, get over it. God forgets it, you should as well. Just move on and don’t dwell on it. God wants you going forward to the prize that awaits you. Run the race with zeal!