When I was in first grade, I cut my hand while out playing with my brothers. It was a deep cut, and as we ran back to the house I remember one of my brothers saying to me, “If you don't look at the cut, it won't hurt.” His advice worked for about 10 seconds, which I'm guessing is how long it took for the nerve endings in my hand to get the message to my brain that there was a serious problem. About 25 stitches later, everything was fine.
I was remembering that story recently as a friend was sharing with me about a sin that's been an ongoing part of his life. My friend told me he knew that sin didn't please God, but he had fallen in to a pattern of continuing to sin, and then just acting like it had’t happened. He said, “I thought that if I just didn't acknowledge it, the sin wouldn't be a big deal. I was wrong.” It seems my friend had discovered the same truth I did with my cut hand - ignoring things doesn’t make them go away, or hurt less.
As I listened to my friend talk, I was reminded of the fact that we all have areas in our lives where we do this same thing. Sometimes it's a bad attitude we have about something, or it's impatience with certain people, or it's simple selfishness. The list could go on, but the point is the same - there are areas of sin in our lives that we choose not to address. And when we do this we're doing the same thing my friend did, acting like our sin isn't a big deal. However eventually we’ll realize, just like he did, that ignoring sin doesn’t make it ok.
The Bible makes it very clear that God hates sin - so much so that we're told the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). And because of how much He hates it, God wants us to make sure we keep it out of our lives. 1 John 3:9 puts it like this, “Those who have been born into God's family should not make a practice of sinning, because God's life is in them.” This means that as believers, we need to be diligent to acknowledge the sin in our lives - no matter how big, or how small.
So today, let's take time to do that. Let's take time to get quiet with God and confess our sins to Him. Let's not ignore the sins that we think are “harmless”, or “small”, or that we just simply enjoy. Instead, let's begin this new year with a serious commitment to regularly confess our sins to God and allow Him to forgive us and make us clean. Then let's commit to living each day with honesty before God, in the big things and the small.