By Joe Slater
“Keep America Beautiful!” So exhorted a public service ad several decades ago (I’m reverting to my childhood again). Along with it came another slogan: “Every litter bit hurts.” I presume that was in contrast to the more positive cliché, “Every little bit helps.”
Yes, every litter bit really does hurt. Our oceans are full of plastic, and work crews pick up trash along the highways. Is it really that difficult to stash the trash until we can dispose of it properly? Evidently so, at least in the minds of some careless souls.
But this article really isn’t about tossing fast food containers out of your car window. Instead, let’s think of sin as litter. We tend to minimize sin unless it’s an outrageous act like murder or adultery. Just as a litter bug might rationalize, “it’s only a scrap of paper,” we shrug off the one vulgar word, the single neglected duty, the solitary bad habit nobody else knows about. As long as we avoid “the big stuff,” we let the rest slide.
But every one of those “litter bits” hurts us. They numb the conscience, making us less and less sensitive to sin. They diminish our appreciation for the holiness of God, in whose image we are made.
I’m all for “Keeping America Beautiful.” But I’m more concerned about keeping our souls beautiful. In both cases, “every litter bit hurts!”
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com