It happens literally every time I eat solid food. There’s this place between two teeth on the upper back left side of my mouth where food inevitably gets stuck. It’s a relatively small space but it’s just big enough to allow tiny pieces of food to lodge there. And, as I said, food WILL get in there every time I eat. Surely you can relate to this. Most all of us have some place like that in our mouth. And, if you’re like me, it’s really irritating. Though it never helps, I try and try to work my tongue around there to hopefully dislodge some of the food. On occasion I’ll push my finger up there, somehow under the impression that this time my finger will fit in this small space between those teeth. Unfortunately, these efforts are fruitless, and I just get used to the food stuck in there and go about my day. After a while, I become rather numb to the discomfort and don’t even think about it until the evening when I’m at home and brushing my teeth.
Unless, of course, I happen to have some dental floss which comes as a gift from God Himself. What a relief it is to pull off a strand of that magical cord, work it between the teeth involved in the situation, and once again enjoy life as it was meant to be. Sweet freedom!
As I was going through this very ritual this morning I had been reading and praying about my sin. It struck me that my real problem isn’t the “big sins” that we label as wicked and destructive, but rather the little sins, those that can and will inevitably get stuck in the hidden places of my heart. These are the ones, that if undetected and not dealt with, will slowly but surely bring decay and rot to my heart. And in a parallel fashion, I repeatedly and fruitlessly attempt to dislodge these little sins by my own doing. But nothing I do seems to help until I realize that it takes something external to resolve the problem. This external something is the Cross, the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. And just as surely as that sin gets stuck in my heart, the cleansing blood of Christ brings sweet relief and freedom and forgiveness and life!
My problem, and likely yours too, is that I often forget to apply the work of Christ to these little sins. I know He died for the big ones, but I seldom really struggle with those. In fact, I’ve become somewhat numb and accustomed to those little sins lodged in the crevices of my heart and I just go about my day in ignorance. You know the sins I’m talking about … anxiety, frustration, discontentment, thanklessness, pride, selfishness, lack of self-control, impatience, anger, judgmentalism, lust, gossip, jealousy, worldliness, etc. These sins almost have an air of respectability in the church, especially compared with such wicked behaviors as adultery, murder, stealing, etc.
Today will you join me in taking the “floss” of the person and work of Jesus Christ and working this grace deep down into even the hidden places in your heart? Let’s stop pretending we’re good because we seldom struggle with those big sins … let’s acknowledge it’s the little sins that are bringing decay and rot to our hearts, marriages, families, friendships, and lives.