I understand big sins, like murder, rape, theft, etc. Kind of hard for me to think ‘venial sins’ matter. Or petty ones. Not correcting someone gently? Being too harsh? Sometimes it is hard to think of something as a sin if there is no strong ramification. I do not see anyone being directly hurt or injured. Most of us have little character faults, blindness that leads us to sin. Some sins are no one’s business to address, correct, etc. I always think of people who are very self-contained, they manage their lives well, it is hard to imagine them as sinners if they usually do the overall right thing. Why do the tiny little things matter anyways? Some people’s sins cause more trouble for themselves, those around them, etc. Some sins are very private. I know God says do not judge. Some people seem to be in more need of salvation than others. I often wonder why do some people need God if their life is on track.
This is what the scriptures say on it.
uke 16:10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
Summed up if we can’t be trusted in the little things we can’t be trusted in the bigger things. Sin can spread like wildfire and part of growing in holiness is to put an end to evil ways and turn to God… The more that is done the more a person becomes holy which is the way to heaven. We don’t go backwards we go forwards and grow in grace throughout our lives. Someone who has great grace will be expected to behave better than one who doesn’t have as much of a grace filled life. This is what the scriptures say on that.
Luke 12:47 The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
. 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Jesus also says be perfect as Our heavenly Father is perfect in fact this thinking runs throughout the scriptures. So to say because a person is not really bad and so doesn’t have to acknowledge their sin means that there is no way a person can improve their lives to grow in holiness which is untrue.
There is beauty in holiness, beauty that someone who stunts their growth may not see. We are given spiritual gifts through our baptism and these gifts can grow as we grow in our faith and sin,even minor sins, will only hold us back from experiencing these spiritual gifts and becoming more fully transformed by Christ.
So the people outside the church will be judged less severely because they have never had an encounter with Christ?
Yes, Cratus, I think the Scriptures say those who have never encountered Christ will be judged less severely than those who have had an encounter and yet have fallen away…
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
(2 Peter 2.20-22)
I wouldn’t put it that way because anyone who hasn’t made it a point to know Christ judge themselves. In other words, will be all justified by our actions. If their actions are bad or haven’t made time for Christ in their life, they will suffer the consequences of their actions in this life or the next by separating themselves from God. The fact of the matter is that God knows our hearts and God is a just God. Sin separates us from God, and those who sins are great will not know God and can be kept from Gods presence due to their own actions not because God has judged them. We learn about that in the Parable of the Wedding banquet.
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
22 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ **5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. **7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
People will be invited to the Kingdom, but those who don’t accept will not enter. So you see peoples actions can affect their union with God in heaven by their own choosing.
Now in scripture Matthew 22:11 There was a man who accepted the invitation yet wasn’t dressed for the wedding so was tossed out. That’s like the man who has faith, knows the score yet doesn’t acknowledge his sins.
First of all, I don’t think there’s a single person on the planet who’s life is “on track.” We’re all broken. Even the guy next door that you think has it all. We all need God.
Second, as far as why do tiny things matter, if you think of sin as breaking some random rules, then yeah, it doesn’t make sense why venial sins would matter. Everybody runs a red light now and then, yet we don’t consider them criminals. But really, it’s not like that. It’s about love. That’s why even venial sins matter. Because all sin is fundamentally a refusal to love. To love God who first loved us.
Sometimes we reject his love so completely by rejecting his plan for us that all grace leaves our soul. That’s a mortal sin. But sometimes we reject him only a little. That doesn’t cause grace to completely leave us like a mortal sin does. But it’s still a big deal. Because we shouldn’t want to hurt the one we love at all. And because the more we do these little things against love, the more numb we get to God in general, and the easier it will be to fall into a serious sin.
To see why it matters so much, imagine if someone said they loved you, then constantly bickered with and mocked you and ignored you. Then they told you, “It’s not a big deal. It’s not like I cheated on you or killed you or anything.” You would probably think they didn’t really love you. When we love someone, we don’t want to hurt them even in little ways. Not cheating on someone isn’t really saying much, the relationship is still damaged. And if it keeps going in that trajectory, it’s going to fall apart. That’s how it is in our relationship with God.
It’s also like a cut. (Sorry, I’m full of analogies tonight. ;)) One isn’t going to do much harm. But fifty will. A hundred will. We keep cutting ourselves over and over and eventually we lose feeling. Keep doing that and your arm will fall off. It’s not something to take lightly or dismiss.
So that’s why all sin matters, even the little ones. It hurts our relationship with God, which in the end is the only thing that matters.
Thank you for that insightful post!
It is easy for us to think that we are okay and not a really bad person.
However, when one is drawn closer to the Lord and begins to meditate on the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, to reflect on bible passages and learn from them, and have conversations with the Lord and his holy Mother with faith, to take their faith seriously by using all the treasures Jesus left us, then one begins to see the world around them and the love of God as very real.
God invites, and we have free will to respond.
That is the Lord calling us to walk closely with Him, and to see things through His eyes. His desire is for us to live with Him forever.
He is the way, the truth, and the life.