"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8).

Just like other school children, homeschoolers also use excuses for not completing their schoolwork on time. As my children grew older, they learned several pat answers to justify their procrastination, including their favorite, "Don't worry. It's no big deal." Of all their excuses, this one probably annoyed me the most. Failing to acknowledge their wrongdoing and take responsibility for their actions, this glib remark downplayed the importance of planning ahead and the significance of keeping a promise. I quickly realized if I didn't hold them accountable in small things, my children would also not be accountable in larger things later in life.

When dealing with the matter of sin, we also attempt to downplay its significance in our walk with God. Justifying ourselves, we consider character flaws and little white lies as "no big deal." After all, who's going to notice or pay attention? In Psalm 5:4-5 we read the answer: "For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity." God is holy, and the standards He sets for those who walk according to the light are measured by that holiness (1 Peter 1:15).

Obviously, God doesn't mess around with sin, and neither should we. If you find yourself in opposition to God's Word and ignoring the Holy Spirit's promptings to abstain from an "insignificant" activity, be careful. You may think that it's no big deal, but it is to God. "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:14-15).

Father, I know there's no such thing as a small sin in Your eyes. Cleanse my heart today and help me to walk uprightly in the strength and power of Your love. In Jesus' name, Amen.