When I was a little girl I had a collection of fairytale books. My two favorites were Grimm’s and Hans Christian Andersen. It is impossible for me to select just one favorite fairytale but I do have several favorites. Among them is the Princess and the Pea. If you don’t know the story you can read a one-paragraph synopsis here. (Promise me you will not tell me that you didn’t read fairy-tales as a kid because I will only spend weeks
stalking you with fairytale books trying to help you make up for lost experiences.)
Now, one would think that I spent time as a little girl imagining myself as the Princess or what it would be like to marry the Prince. But, no. I spent my time thinking of how ludicrous the thought was that a person could feel a pea located under forty mattresses! I loved fairy-tales as much as anyone, but forty mattresses?! It was too much of a stretch.
As an adult, however, I have witnessed the tiniest of things cause the greatest of destruction. The following is not an exhaustive list but includes four things that seem small or insignificant, but will reap the most destruction. They apply to every believer but my focus will be on church leaders.
1. THE LITTLE SIN OF FLIRTING
Webster defines flirt as, “to behave in a way that shows a sexual attraction for someone but is not meant to be taken seriously; to come close to reaching or experiencing something”.
At the very least, flirting will end in hurt and heartbreak for the person on the receiving end. This isn’t very loving toward our closest neighbors. At the very worst, flirting will result in a broken marriage, a wounded team and a crippled church. Normally, these things are not thought of when the first wave of attraction hits. Instead, two people may spend months developing a friendship-turned-affair faster than they could have thought possible. We don’t flirt with fire. Flirting is fire. It will ultimately destroy you. It will burn those around you and render your teams ineffective.
If you are a church leader involved in a flirtatious relationship, you need to stop it now (at all costs) and talk to someone you trust to help you.
2. THE LITTLE SIN OF LITTLE WHITE LIES
Lying lips are listed among things that God hates. Somehow, mankind has categorized lying into little, white lies and big, bold lies. To God, a lie is a lie. What is the harm in a little white lie that doesn’t hurt anyone? The answer is that little, white lies become easier and easier to tell until soon they are big lies that require more lies to cover. Lies always end up exploding and causing shrapnel to pierce everyone who is in their wake.
3. THE LITTLE LIE OF DISHONESTY IN FINANCIAL MATTERS
The small misuse of your ministry budget. Moving money around to cover up losses. Spending designated money for anything for anything other than it’s designated purpose. Using organizational money for personal purchases. I have watched this area single handedly destroy a church and it’s leaders. The sad part is that, just as big, bold lies start out as little, white lies, lack of integrity in financial matters begins with one seemingly minuscule decision. Over time our consciousness becomes hardened and before we know it, our character is ruined.
Protect your integrity at all cost! Pray for wisdom and discernment. Ask God to stop any and all transactions that are not in line with His word and how He would have you operate.
4. THE LITTLE SIN OF ANGER OUTBURSTS
Scripture does not tell us not to be angry. The standard is: “Be angry and do not sin.” Proverbs tell us that a man who gives vent to his anger is a fool. When we give vent to our anger (red-faced-yelling-throwing items kind of rants) we lose the trust and respect of the people we lead. Remember: leaders are asking people to follow them. People will not follow a ranting mad man.
If you struggle with a hot-headed temper, talk with someone who can help you identify the root of your anger and will help you destroy it through the power of the gospel.