For whoever keeps the whole Law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. James 2:10
Go to a national park, and in those places where the warning would apply, you will see a sign, which instructs: "DON'T FEED THE BEARS."
Experience has shown that feeding bears, which aren't cute and cuddly, is not good for the bears, which learn to depend on people, and it's not good for the people who have, on rare occasions, become lunch for the bears.
Now, a reasonable person might think that a big, brawny, cantankerous, old bear is just about the most dangerous beast you can meet in a national park. Apparently, such reasonable people might be wrong. That's because, in a few places, the hantavirus is more deadly than any bear.
Never heard of the hantavirus? The experts say the virus is carried in rodent feces, urine and saliva. When these dry out and mix with dust, they can be inhaled by humans. Once contracted, the virus has no known cure, and about one-third of the folks who catch it will not survive.
So here's the problem. Some folks who stayed in Curry Village at Yosemite Park may have been exposed to the hantavirus left by mice nesting in some of the tent insulation. As of this writing, two people have died, and 10,000 folks stayed at that camp between June and August.
This all goes to prove, little things can make a big difference.
I imagine when Eve nibbled from the forbidden fruit she didn't think her action would have major ramifications. When Herod made a promise to dancing Salome, he never considered the Baptizer's head might end up on a plate. When Pilate washed his hands at the trial of the Prophet from Galilee, he had no idea his name would be more infamous than that of any Caesar.
Small things, small sins, make a big difference.
When I speak about small sins, I'm referring to those transgressions which, to our way of thinking, don't seem to be all that bad. I mean, they're not big sins like those committed by Adolf Hitler. They're not disgusting sins like that of the child molester. No, these are sins which seem so small, so inconsequential, so insignificant that they're hardly worthy of the name.
Now if you have such a sin -- and most of us do -- may I call your attention to the book of James? Taking a look at big sins, little sins and everything in between, God inspired James to write that, as far as God is concerned, if a person fails in one point, he's failed in everything.
And we've all failed, haven't we? Little sins, big sins ... they're all far more deadly than the hantavirus. Indeed, the fatality rate from sin is 100 percent.
Thankfully, unlike the hantavirus, there is a cure for our sinful condition. That cure comes through the blood of Jesus. Having lived His entire life for us, Jesus sacrificed Himself upon Calvary's cross. There, when His life ended, so did His work of being our Substitute. Through His resurrection we have the assurance all our sins -- large and small -- have been forgiven.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for forgiving my sins, both great and small, my thanks. May my life be lived letting others know of the cure that is theirs in Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries