I heard about this term in church one day, and it totally hit home. Many of us, probably like yourself, stay away from the “hardcore” sins. I’m guessing you haven’t murdered anyone, or lusted to the point of infidelity. You probably haven’t knocked over a liquor store for a couple hundred dollars, or gotten upon a court stand and lied to convict someone of a crime they didn’t do.
However, many of us have hurt someone by saying something hateful on purpose, fantasized about a good looking acquaintance, didn’t correct a cashier when she undercharged you for a product, or have told not just a white lie, but a good sized one to simply protect your ego. I’ve unfortunately done each of these.
We do bad, we know we do bad, but we don’t do “that” bad. We rationalize our actions and thoughts to soften the sinful behavior or even belief. We manage our sin. Our culture has even softened the word “sin”, as we have replaced it with the word “mistake”. Why do we do bad, when we know we’re doing bad. This could open up a psychological and spiritual talk for years.
Although these actions are payoffs mostly in the short term, we almost always find out they have long term consequences. Regardless, we do it anyway. You do it, and so do I.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know why I’m exactly writing this part. Maybe because I do it often. We mutate the “glass half empty or full” argument for defense. “Yes, I lied, but it was for their own good”, you might say. “Better to correct them, then not correct them at all… and besides, I rarely lie anyway”…. Glass half full. Well as long as you don’t lie to hurt, telling a lie, especially for a good reason, is ok. Isn’t it?
A business man is away for a week long business trip and buys several rated XXX movies in his hotel room to satisfy his sexual cravings. Hey, it’s better than cheating on his wife, right? The justification continues… He goes on to say, “The wife and I watch an occasional one together any way. I don’t do it all of the time when away on business. It’s not kiddie porn!”
We soften our sin, but the fact is that it is still sin. Sin that makes way for a sin a little more sinful. Elaborating on a story about a co-worker snowballs into weekly lies which have a life of their own. Cheating on one question, or one little test, leads to completely copying a term paper from an obscure online source. A text with a sexual undertone mutates into flirting, then back rubs, onto kissing while drunk, which in a year turns into a full on affair where kids and friends are all hurt.
This is what all sin management leads to, not just sin, but sin management. But it does so in such a small incremental way most times we don’t notice it. It is like watching the sun move in the high sky. Night is coming, we just don’t notice it. When the sun hits the horizon, sunset happens before we know it… and we can’t stop it. I can obviously continue the metaphor, promising you another day will come, etc., but it is not the point here.
We owe it to ourselves, those we affect and God, to be aware when even the littlest sin occurs. Ok, not great grammar, but you get my point. Not that we turn into sin police, especially acknowledging it in others, and failing to see it in our own lives. The focus is to be aware of it all around us, and change the things we can in our own lives to not just manage sin, but “do” the right thing – by seeing the right and the good options… not only seeing what some of us presume we’re missing out on.