I find it very easy to look over little sins in my life. Sins like “white lies”, speeding through “long” yellow lights, talking about someone behind their back to share a “prayer request”, and the moments of self-pity if I don’t get my way. Maybe you think that the “little sins” are all those thoughts and feelings you have inside that are never manifested in actions or words.
The sad truth is that the little and internal sins grieve God just like the “marquee” sins of theft, pornography, adultery, murder, bitterness, hatred, rape, child abuse, and on and on. The consequences will certainly differ between the “little” and the “marquee” sins. God, however, wants us to hate all our sins, not just the big ones.
In Psalm 6, David is lamenting a particular sin in his life. We don’t find out which sin it is, but that doesn’t matter. It could be something big — we know that David had a few blockbuster sins in his day. The point is that David is begging for mercy. Listen to what he writes in verses 1-4:
O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD — how long?
Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
David asks the Lord to not be angry. He asks that God would not have wrath on him. He asks for grace and healing. He asks for deliverance. And he does this by appealing to God’s steadfast love. “Your love is massively great, God! Please use a spec of it on me right now. Don’t kill me, LORD. Save me.”
Whether David is repenting of what we would label a “big” or “little” sin, I can’t know for sure. What I do know is that David is keenly aware of his sinful state and his need of God, and he is expressing hatred for what he did. He was called a man after God’s own heart, not because he had it all together, but because he hated sin and repented. And it seems clear to me from the Bible that hating and repenting of the so-called worst of sins is not what God wants. We must honor Jesus by hating the little sins, the split-second thought sins, and the heart emotion sins.
C.S. Lewis said, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” There are millions of people in hell right now who never murdered, never looked at porn, never cheated on their spouse, never stole a stick of gum, and never screamed at a neighbor. The actions are not the problem. It’s the heart. And I want my heart to be broken over anything and everything, internally or externally, that does not honor and glorify God.
Will you confess your small, subtle sins with me? Will you confess the sins of your heart that no one may ever see? The cross of Christ is not just for the sins that make the 6 o’clock news. The cross is for every sin and every sinner. Will you have it?