Well, not really, but that's how we treat sin. "Big" sins are obvious. They're things that come out in the open and ruin reputations. Things like cheating on your spouse. Rape, murder, arson, all sorts of sex that takes place outside of marriage... Those types of sins. The church is pretty good at talking about these sins. We denounce them. We take a stand against them. We incessantly shame people who have committed them (an unfortunate side-effect of attempting some semblance of holiness)...
We are terrible, however, at dealing with the "little" sins.
The Song of Solomon 2:15 tells us that it is the small foxes that "spoil the vine". We have to be aware of the little flaws of character, the little lapses in judgement, and the little indulgences of the flesh. These are "small foxes", but the damage they can do is enormous.
These "small foxes" may not ruin your reputation, but they can lead you to spiritual destruction. Like an invasive weed or vine, these "small" sins can take root in your heart without any outward manifestation. By the time you see these sins begin to break the soil's surface and blossom, the roots have spread too deep and too wide to be easily removed.
We can't take the time to cover these "little sins" in depth, but let's bring a few of them into the light.
- Jealousy - It is easy to fall into this trap. It is human nature to compare ourselves to others. We do this in terms of physical appearance, success, wealth, social status, intelligence, education... Pretty much every area of life. Covetousness in any area of life is a sin. Not only will this destroy your perspective and joy, making you a bitter person, it will likely lead to other sins that you never thought you could commit.
- Hatred - Resentment can creep in as a result of the smallest injustice (or perceived injustice). This resentment, if not addressed, will grow to an overwhelming hatred that will absolutely consume you. Not only is this a sin in itself, it can lead, in the worst cases, to "big" SINS, like murder. Don't think it can happen to you? Don't be so sure...
- Lust - This is one of the most common "little sins", especially for men. My natural, healthy appreciation for beauty can easily be subverted into a consuming lust. The saturation of popular culture with sexual images (In the words of Robert California, "Everything is sex.") has led us to see hyper-sexuality and pornography as normative. The subversive and secretive nature of pornography (as well as the easy access provided by the internet), makes lust a particularly dangerous "little" sin.
There are many more "little" sins that we could discuss, but they all have one thing in common that make them extremely dangerous and allow them to thrive in the church, hiding like a monster under the pew: they are invisible.
They hide in darkness. The church does not like to discuss "little" sins because the church likes to look perfect. Dealing with jealousy, hatred, and lust will show that we are just as human as anyone else. This reveals another little sin that thrives in the church: self-righteousness.
When we are more concerned with the appearance of righteousness than righteousness itself, our fate is sealed. We guarantee that we will never banish the monster from under the pew and the church will be just as comfortable in sin as the world. The only difference? We continue to lie about our sinful condition... and that's why the world thinks we are hypocrites.
Isaiah 64:6 - "...all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags..."