"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).

Every spring after the snow thawed in the ditches near our home, the ugliness of winter's past sins would be revealed. An endless disarray of empty glass liquor bottles and aluminum beer cans lined both sides of our country road for more than a mile. Looking at the mess, my young son shook his head in disgust. "Mom," he said. "Why do they have to throw their garbage in our ditch?"

Understanding his displeasure, I replied, "I don't know, but can you imagine the mess their lives are in if what they've left behind looks like this?"

The Bible doesn't pull any punches when it reveals God's attitude toward sin's ugliness. The Scriptures say sin is an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 6:16), and He hates those who do iniquity (Psalm 5:5). No matter if the sin is great or small in our mind, we suffer when we choose to disobey God. Our sinful actions and choices trash not only our lives, but also the lives of everyone they touch.

As a Christian homeschooling parent, do you take your sinful failings seriously? Proverbs 14:9 says, "Fools make a mock at sin." Each time you choose to lose your patience, make unloving remarks, or fail to discipline your children, you leave a mess in your own family, as well as the world. Left unchecked, sin's filthy effect will split your family apart and give the world cause to look on homeschoolers and Christians with disgust. Start picking up the mess today by coming before the Lord and seeking His cleansing from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Father, forgive me for not hating sin like You do. Help me to deal with those seemingly "little" sins that make my life ugly and ruin Your best in my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.