It was 1994 and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani faced the daunting task to revitalize a stagnant and decaying city. Hire more police? Institute longer prison terms for criminals? Yes. But the heart of his new agenda was adopting a no tolerance policy for graffiti and broken windows. Giuliani reasoned that New Yorkers would feel safer living in their own city if these eyesores were eliminated. “A cleaner city is a safer city.” He was correct. New Yorkers soon began feeling better about their city and themselves when signs of urban decay, robberies, and violent crimes disappeared. New financial investments poured in as the city roared back to recovery. Four years later, Giuliani commented, “Obviously murder and graffiti are two vastly different crimes. But they are part of the same continuum, and a climate that tolerates one is more likely to tolerate the other.”
On a much smaller scale, when I relax my vigilance, I experience a similar erosion of standards within my own home and business. Little lapses, like crumbs left on the table or floor, encourages a lackadaisical attitude and leads to larger pieces of food and rubbish that are soon left unattended. If one does not devote attention to seemingly trivial bad behaviors, a descent down a slippery slope, tolerating more egregious offenses, may result.
My spiritual life is no different. Fresh from a morning of fellowship at Church or my morning daily devotional and prayer with God, I am energized, enthusiastic to obey God. But within a few hours, the nicks and bruises begin. I allow sinister thoughts to creep into my psyche. I justify these thoughts by convincing myself that I was an innocent victim or God would surely understand and overlook these offenses. All this does is encourage more bad behavior and sinning.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:8 (ESV)
For so many years, I tolerated, even ignored sins that I committed which I deemed small or insignificant. I deceived myself and others. God has changed my heart to conform and transform me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. I am far from perfect but by committing to confess and repent of every sin, God has started the painful reversal of a stagnant and decaying spiritual life which I embraced for so many years.
Praise God for His grace and mercy!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.