"A long, involved story, account, or series of incidents."
And every good story starts with a single event, a seemingly innocuous incident that starts the ball rolling.
Like a snowflake starts an avalanche.
Like a water droplet starts a flood.
I have a good story for you.
It began a couple of weeks ago when my mother said to my brother and I...
"Can I show you something?"
Those words sound harmless enough, right?
But it occurs to me that they are ominously portentous – like saying to someone:
"Can we talk about something?"
So, my brother followed my mom into her bathroom area.
A few minutes later, I wandered in, only to meet my brother halfway.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"Go look," he replied, with a rather grim expression on his face.
I poked my head into her bathroom, and instantly felt like I had entered a horror movie.
There were winged bugs all over her floor, all over her toilet, all over…
As I stood there aghast, my brother returned.
My mom's bathroom has a little window with shutters in front of it.
My brother and I knew we needed to look. So we gingerly opened the shutters…
(If this was indeed a horror movie, this is the point when the audience starts screaming, "Don't open the shutters! Don't do it!!)
A literal mound of bugs was heaped behind those shutters. A hive of winged insects. A pile of grossness.
And if there was a *queen* inside, she would have been the size of a baseball, I'm sure about that. (Needless to say, we did NOT go looking for her...)
"What are those?" I whispered to my brother.
"I think they're termites."
Well, we *RAIDed* that pile, and cleaned up carcasses, and called a termite company. They came out about a week later for an inspection. And yup, Mom's house was infested.
Treatment Day was scheduled.
Fortunately, this company uses a non-toxic way to treat termites. No tenting, no need for anyone to leave the house (though we did arrange for Mom to be gone for the day).
Treatment Day arrived.
So, this non-toxic method entailed drilling holes every foot around the entire perimeter of the house, down to the soil, treating every square inch of the attic and fascia board around the garage, and injecting an orange oil concoction into each hole.
The noise, the dust, the inconvenience, the disruption – feet in the attic, drills and hammers pounding, cement dust flying.
At one point, one of the workers said that he was having trouble drilling down to the soil in the patio. His drill bit got stuck, and they were awaiting a new, longer one to arrive.
This is the point in the story where the plot twists…
Mid-morning my brother was called outside. And then came back inside with one of "those" faces – oh no, bad news coming.
"We've had to turn off the water. They hit a pipe somewhere, and there's a leak."
And so began a 58-hour ordeal.
We had to have the water turned off – except for momentary moments in order to wash hands, brush teeth, and use the restroom. However, each time we did that, a fountain of water erupted in the patio, and poured out ($$$) all over!
At the mercy of the termite company, because repair work was now in their court, it was 48 hours until their plumber came.
He proceeded to jackhammer the patio to locate and cap the broken pipe.
Except he didn't.
Turns out this guy's "regular" job was heating and air conditioning. And he only did plumbing "on the side."
So, after an hour of futile and destructive work, he informed me that he couldn't fix it.
Multiple phone calls ensued.
Miscommunication, delays, double-bookings, faulty promises – finally, a guy arrived at our house. And worked for hours in a valiant effort to remedy our problem.
At the cost of removing drywall from several areas inside the house in an effort to locate the source of the leak. And cutting and capping off pipes that compromised the water supply to downstairs.
Needless to say, we were grateful to have running water, finally, at 9:00 PM that night.
This saga is not yet done – as there are more calls and negotiations for leak-plugging, piping restoration, drywall repair, concrete re-pouring, patio re-tiling, etc.
But the whole experience showed me something…
One "small" incident can lead to a whole lot of suffering.
One "small" leak can be anything but…
Have you ever fooled yourself into thinking that a "small" sin is OK?
A minor cheat.
A harmless flirtation.
A quick look.
A snap judgment.
I know you're like me (you are, right?!) – and I have been guilty of committing "small" sins, sins that I deemed innocuous, sins that hardly seemed worth the effort of thinking about.
Sins that could hardly be called sins.
Those sins were just the beginning – the first domino tipping over and starting a chain of events that tumbled out of control.
We humans are funny creatures.
And I think it's a temptation all in itself to *rank* our sins.
Some are not-so-bad, some are oh-that-wasn't-so-good, and others are really-and-truly-terrible.
And when we are guilty of committing "little" sins, it's easy to dismiss them, to ignore them.
Until a "small" leak turns into a flood.
We must not be fooled.
Small leaks have a way of permeating our souls.
Every sin costs something.
Consciences can be dulled, integrity can be jeopardized, honesty can be compromised, relationships can be broken, and trust can be demolished.
And more than anything, any kind of sin diminishes and threatens our relationship with God.
You see, in God's eyes, there is no ranking of sins.
There is only SIN – a fatal condition of the human heart.
Yes, sin manifests itself in a million different ways – a million different wrongdoings.
But God's holiness is perfect.
And it doesn't matter if we fall short by an inch or a trillion miles.
WE. ALL. FALL. SHORT.
Oh, dear ones, we cannot afford to be casual about the "small" sins.
We must be ruthless in our determination to find them and eliminate them in our single-minded pursuit of God.
But let us not be like the plumber who thought he could fix the problem himself, and couldn't, because he wasn't a professional.
We are like that – only amateurs in this sin business.
Therefore, we must allow, we must invite the Holy Spirit to do the work that only He can do.
He knows our hearts intimately, better than we do, and He is the only one who can stop the leaky "small" sins before they escalate into something bigger and more damaging.
It might take some jack-hammering, some digging behind walls, some exposing of hidden leaks, some capping off of pipelines that are the source of sinful behavior.
It might take some time, and it might be expensive, costly.
For it will involve dying to self.
But in the end, it's worth it.
Let LIVING WATER flow again!!
it seems I've sprung a leak,
I am not displaying
the holiness You seek.
So please search my heart
where sin doth lurk,
And let Your Holy Spirit
do His work.
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(A lot of Scripture today, but let it have a *domino* effect in your heart!)
"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." (Romans 3:23, NLT)
"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." (James 2:10, NASB)
"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV)
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2, NIV)
"I am afraid, however, that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may be led astray from your simple and pure devotion to Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:3, Berean Bible)
"You must warn each other every day, while it is still "today," so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God." (Hebrews 3:13, NLT)
"For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness – my sinful capacity]. For the willingness [to do good] is present in me, but the doing of good is not. For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want…For I joyfully delight in the law of God in my inner self [with my new nature], but I see a different law and rule of action in the members of my body [in its appetites and desires], waging war against the law of my mind and subduing me and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is within my members. Wretched and miserable man that I am! Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]? Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:18-19, 22-25, AMP)
"If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (1 John 1:8-9, NLT)
"'The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives.'" (Jeremiah 17:9-10, NLT)
"Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" (Psalm 139:23-24, ESV)
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10, AMP)
"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God…Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry…In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away…" (Colossians 3:2-3, 5, 7-8, ESV)
"So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls." (James 1:21, NLT)
"We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin." (Romans 6:6, NLT)
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20, ESV)
Have you sprung a "small" sin leak?
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