DayBreaks for 02/13/13 – Spider Web or Ship’s Rope?
James 1:15 (NIV) – Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
We laugh when Professor Harold Hill in the musical Music Man warns that the boy who buckles his knickers below the knees is “on the road to degradation,” but despite the laughter there is a truth here. There’s no harm, directly, in most of life’s little misdemeanors, but they grow. An ancient rabbi said, “Sin begins as a spider’s web and becomes a ship’s rope.” You and I add those strands that change the spider’s web into a rope; but because we add just one strand at a time, and because each one is usually so small, we don’t realize what we’re constructing. Sometimes, on the other hand, the growth seems to happen almost of its own accord. It is as if we planted a seed in the soil of the soul by some small act of sin and, without our seeming to attend it or care for it, it develops into a full-grown tree. – J. Ellesworth Kalas, If Experience Is Such A Good Teacher Why Do I Keep Repeating The Course?, p. 80.
Ah, “life’s little misdemeanors”. We think misdemeanors are much less serious than felonies in our judicial system, don’t we? In fact, we often overlook misdemeanors, or let those guilty of such things off with the lightest of “slaps on the wrist”. When it comes to those we love, or to an even greater extent to ourselves, we think that there should be no consequences whatsoever for misdemeanors because they are so small and seemingly so innocuous. But the point that J. Ellesworth Kalas makes is very valid. And the rabbi said it well (as they often did!)
We add a tiny, nearly microscopic thread of misdemeanor to our life and then another and another…and without realizing it, we’ve got a hawser that binds us securely, robbing us of freedom of movement, restraining us. And when we’re restrained, we’re easy prey for the enemy.
We should not be surprised when habitual misdemeanors grow up to be huge issues later in life. Sin, James said in the verse above, starts out small and grows. He even uses the analogy of how human life is conceived…a tiny merging of two microscopic cells (though he didn’t know that), that grows until it is delivered as a very tiny baby, that continues to grow until it is full grown…and then, like our human flesh, death results. It’s a nasty, deadly progression.
We can’t play with sin and come away unscathed. Will we ever learn that lesson?
PRAYER: God, forgive us for playing with misdemeanors, believing that it is innocent and won’t harm others or ourselves. Help us learn the lesson before the tiny thread becomes a mighty rope that incapacitates us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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