Snowballing Effects of
the Sinful Nature
I posted a couple videos on Why Bad Things Happen to Good People? On YouTube, several people mentioned horrific instances and wondered why God, who is suppose to be loving, would allow such dreadful evils? Therefore, in their judgment, God must not exist; it’s simply life and chance. One person gave a video response about the father who locked up his daughter in the basement for 24 years and had several children by her. Thinking about this horrific event – this is what came to mind . . .
The majority of us tend to think our “little” sins are no big deal because compared to others’ sins we judge them less important. For example, I may say a lie here and there, but at least I’m not murdering! However, our “little” sins have ripple effects and if those sins are left unchecked, then those “little” sins snowball. They can snowball in our own lives, but it’s the passing along to other generations and those around us that we often don’t consider. What may seem like a small thing may feed a “bigger” sin in someone else. For example, in selfish indulgence I may flirt with someone married at work. What’s the big deal? The big deal is I’m telling others with my actions that is acceptable behavior. I can reinforce thoughts of infidelity in another. Then perhaps they go and have an affair with someone else causing pain and damage. My little sin could have fed that sin, see? Obviously, I wasn’t the only cause, but I could have contributed to it because I encouraged that train of thought. Now, we have no way of knowing how our actions affect others in a particular circumstance, but my point is we are all connected. We influence each others’ lives. We don’t operate in a vacuum. Our words, our actions have power. How are your behaviors, words, beliefs affecting others really? 1 Corinthians 10:24 Each person’s choice is based upon the combination of their experiences, previous choices, family, friends, culture, genetics, and situations. And much of that is influenced by others.
Horrific evils result from an accumulation of many “little” sins not dealt with in our lives, throughout generations, and in our society. Sins excused as no big deal. Sins give a foothold to evil – and when we open the door to let it in who knows what form it will take. So who is responsible? We say we never would do that terrible of an evil – but when we don’t address our own rebellion against God we are contributing to what could become a “bigger” sin.
These horrific stories should be a powerful reminder of the effects our little sins have. We are all connected. God isn’t to blame. The answer isn’t to turn away from God – it’s to draw near – the only thing that will heal this earth.
In thinking about this snowball effect, my fallen nature, and all the snowballing I’ve done, Paul’s exclamation came to mind . . .Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Then, Christ’s magnificence filled me. He set us free from this curse. The thoughts of His deliverance from being a slave to sin, mercy for not giving me the full effects of my sin or giving it to others, complete forgiveness and moving my sins as far as the east is from the west, the healing in me and the lives I have hurt along the way, and His new spirit in me that gives me a passion for His ways and His love overflowed my soul with gratitude. . . and it made me much more attentive to the “little” sins God shows me.
Apart from God we can’t know and give true love. This is what we are learning by all the pain and damage that is created from souls separated from God. That pain is to drive us to seek God; to open our eyes to the fact that going our way apart from Him doesn’t work. But instead many blame God – they have it backwards. We are the problem, not Him. Being separated from Him is the problem.
We all have rebelled against God Isaiah 53:6. We have all caused pain, damage, and added to the sinful state of our world. When we fully understand our sinfulness, the gift of God of giving His Son’s life as payment for our sins, for His healing, and His mercy toward us, then His love overwhelms us. 1 Peter 4:8, Psalm 57:10
Only by being born of God can we know and do what is truly loving and good. We need Him. We need to be deeply connected to Him. He is life.
We are choosing that evil we hate every day when we don’t choose God and His way. Matthew 24:12
October 12, 2009 at 6:44 pm
Thanks and God Bless
October 13, 2009 at 4:33 am
thank you, thank you, thank you. I have never read such a simple, concise, straight forward answer to that question until I read yours. And I need to add that, as Our Savior said to Peter, ‘blessed art thou Simon Barjonah sp?, for flesh and blood did not reveal that to you, but my Father in heaven’
October 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm
Thanks Thomas for your comments! As I thought about these evils – the thoughts in this post hit me so clearly. It was easy to go off onto tangents but I wanted to make sure what I learned came across as clearly as I received it 🙂 – so I greatly appreciate your feedback on it.
October 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm
Very well said Rachel. Your post is a great reminder that “no one sins in a vacuum”. I think you also touched on something important in that comparing ourselves to others and reasoning that our sins aren’t quite as bad as theirs is pointless. The only measuring stick we should be using is found in God’s Word.
Jerry Bridges wrote a very helpful book on this topic a couple of years ago called “Respectable Sins: Confronting The Sins We Tolerate” and he tackled some of these lesser sins like anxiety, irritability, being ungrateful, etc. I was reminded of it after reading your post.
Great thoughts as always Rachel…thanks for this post today
October 13, 2009 at 5:52 pm
Joe – nicely put – the only measuring stick is God’s truth. Crazy how often we use each other as a frame of reference for our actions – so backwards.
October 14, 2009 at 12:20 am
God bless you and your fine work for the Lord. Do pray for our online ministry. We are working hard to spread Gods’ Word to people all over the world. Thank God for you…
October 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm
Dr. Lee, my prayers are with you.
October 14, 2009 at 7:37 am
“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
We are all sinners down here, some worse than others, and we will all have to answer to God face to face someday, whether we ask his forgiveness down here or not.
October 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm
Donald – how true your words are. Thanks for your comment.
November 4, 2009 at 6:03 pm
I throw one but I’ll do it in Christ. 8)) Dont worry I wont hit anything.
AGM (the stone thrower)lol
November 4, 2009 at 7:43 pm
haha – thanks.
January 10, 2013 at 2:04 am
Amy Lynnah, the prayer of a siennr and how to recoup salvation and forgiveness from our Holy Father. My life growing up has been full of loss and sadness. I have lost everyone in my family through death, leaving only my daughter and myself to carry on the family name. I was angry at God. I was mad at God. I did not care if I did things that were upsetting to Him. To me, nothing much mattered anymore. My heart was extremely heavy and how it had hurt for so long. I met a pastor of some random area church at my local library and we started to talk about God and I told him about some of my issues I had with Him. This pastor told me to open up my heart and my ears and to listen to what God was telling me to do;giving me advice on how to be strong. This is also the time when this pastor introduced to me this exact prayer of forgiveness of my sins. I remember reciting after each sentence and by the end of the prayer, I was in tears. I felt the heavy load I had been carrying lifted off my chest, and my vision was more focused and my senses were more in tune to my surroundings. I really believe with an open heart God does forgive.
October 14, 2009 at 7:40 pm
your welcome, i like reading your words, they can be helpful
October 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm
You are correct in that we are all role models for someone else. Whatever we do – good or bad, whoever we are – parents, teachers, pastors or celebrities, there’s always someone watching us and ready to emulate us.
My concern, as I see it around me, is that many use this as an excuse to do evil or to go wrong:
“It’s the circumstances of my up-bringing in a broken family and poor background that led me
to … ”
“It’s because of my lack of education that I … ”
And so the excuses go trying to explain or condone wrongdoings rather than accept personal responsibilities.
They say “Hate the sin but not the sinner”.
I’m not so sure about that. The sin, however evil and abhorent, has never hurt anyone. It requires a person to put it into action for it to do harm.
God allows the sinner to sin – that’s why He gave us free will to do so. Yet, at all times there are many roadsigns pointing to God’s Word, and there are many people (like you) preaching God’s Word.
Pity they’re not listening.
October 19, 2009 at 4:34 pm
Victor – you raised a meaty issue – about fostering a victim mentality that usurps responsibility. We all will be accountable to our actions regardless of the foundational network that manifested them. This is our ability as humans – we have an element of choice in our decisions – we aren’t limited to reactive behaviors. It is something that needs to be more reinforced in our society. But it won’t because it is easier to manipulate and take advantage of victims. It is easier to control others when they feel they don’t have any control themselves.
As for the sinner verses sin aspect – another meaty issue. The flesh side of me – the sinner, my self-will, my wicked nature is contrary to God. God hates the wicked. He hated Esau. Romans 9:13. It is our self-will acting out that has to be destroyed – which is destroyed in Christ. I hate my flesh that is in rebellion in God but as a new creation I have the seed of God in my creating new life. Those who haven’t been born again, lack this new life – so all they have is wickedness directed by their self-will – which we hate. But God desires that none should perish – there is a value in each one of us as God’s creation. And we are to love our enemies. We can’t dismiss the sinner who is spiritually dead because we were all there at one point. And they could become God’s child. We don’t know when or how God will work in their life and He may use our love to opent their eyes to Him. Perhaps this is what people mean when they say don’t hate the sinner but the sin. Not to dismiss them.
November 10, 2009 at 7:57 pm
Reading above comment. I think you are exactly right.
And lol. Props to you for being open about your flaws.
November 11, 2009 at 12:26 am
Lauren – thanks for stopping by and commenting. 😉
January 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm
Wow, Amy! I looked at this and I thugoht about my formerly prodigal son. He recently returned to walking with the Lord. His life was filled with addictions and through the grace and power of our Almighty God, he’s walked away from those addictions. He’s now facing a pressing health issue directly related to the consequences of those former sins. It’s been amazing to watch his response to all this. Anxiety is no longer a part of his life and he hasn’t turned to the former things he was addicted to and not using them as a release valve to escape the pressures. He’s totally relying and rejoicing in the Lord.Thanks for this, dear one.