November 16, 2011
The Little Things
"My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly." Psalm 38:5 (NIV)
It was just a little thing. A small stone or piece of shell I'd stepped on at some point during my walk on the beach. I figured I didn't need to worry about it. Eventually it would work its way out. So I ignored it and went on with life.
But weeks later my plan wasn't working. The little thing hadn't gone away. It had only worked its way deeper into my foot. I was having more and more trouble walking. And my little thing had become harder to ignore.
At my husband's insistence, I finally visited the doctor, who told me that something that could've been handled easily at the beginning had now turned into a much bigger problem. What could've been as simple as removing a splinter now involved cutting into my foot.
I thought of the little things in my life I've ignored, letting them work their way deeper instead of plucking them out while they were still easy to get to. Resentment, anger, jealousy, gossip, unforgiveness and unkind thoughts can be plucked out the moment we realize they're there. But leave them untended and they go deeper.
What could be a matter of prayer and accountability becomes a full blown life issue that controls us and causes pain—not just for us, but for others as well. Ignore the little things and they become big problems; plucking becomes carving. Like our verse today, our sinful folly causes wounds that fester instead of heal.
I didn't take the time to go to the doctor. I didn't want to mess with the inconvenience or the pain of having my little thing dealt with. I thought I could handle it on my own. But I couldn't. I needed a physician to do what I could not. It is the same for those little things in my thought life as well. I need the Great Physician to remove what I can't reach — and do it before it becomes so deep that it's part of who I am.
When I'm struggling with little things, I've learned to ask God to help me see what is going on through His Word and prayer. Then I listen to the Holy Spirit's convictions and seek honesty from friends and family.
As a friend of mine says, "The truth might hurt, but the truth also heals." We must be intentional about being honest with ourselves and do whatever it takes to identify and remove the potentially damaging little things in our hearts and in our thought lives.
Dear Lord, please show me those little things in my life I am ignoring — whether it's a behavior like gossip or a thought like envy. I try to convince myself that there's such a thing as a "little sin" but I know deep down that little things can become big problems if left unchecked. Convict me through Your Holy Spirit and let me respond as You would want. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Write down some little things you've ignored in the past or know you're ignoring right now. Find some verses that speak to those particular issues and meditate on those verses as you seek God's healing.
Why do I tend to ignore little things? How can a little inconvenience or discomfort now save me from bigger hurt later?
Isaiah 57:14, "And it will be said: Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people." (NIV)
Isaiah 62:10, "Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations." (NIV)
© 2011 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105