While all sin is a transgression against God and his law, some sins are less heinous and vile than others. For example, it is far worse if I would kill my neighbor’s beloved dog than if I would lie to him and say I liked the dog. However, as Christians, we should detest all of our sins and repent of them all – not just the worst ones, but the “little” ones as well. One question comes up: why should we hate the “little” sins in our hearts and lives? Thomas Brooks gave some good answers to that question (I’ve edited them for length & grammar):
1) A holy man knows that little sins, if not prevented, will bring on greater sins. David gives way to his wandering eye, and that led him to those scandalous sins for which God broke his bones, hid his face, and withdrew his Spirit (2 Sam. 12). Peter first denies his Master and then foreswears him, and then falls cursing and damning of himself (Mt. 26).
2) A holy man knows that little sins have exposed both sinners and saints to very great punishments. He remembers how Saul lost two kingdoms at once, his own kingdom and the kingdom of heaven, for sparing Agag and the fat of the cattle. He remembers how the unprofitable servant, for the non-improvement of his talent, was cast into outer darkness. He remembers how Ananias and Sapphira were stricken suddenly dead for telling a lie. Those sins which are seemingly small are very provoking to the great God and hurtful to the immortal soul, therefore little sins cannot but be the object of a Christian’s hatred.
3) A holy man knows that a holy God looks and expects that the least sins should be shunned and avoided. Not only great sins, but little ones, must be killed, or they will kill the soul. God expects that his children should ‘abstain from all appearance of evil’ (1 Thess. 5.22). He that truly hates the nature of sin cannot but hate the least sin, yea, all appearances of sin.
4) A holy man knows that the indulging of the least sin is sufficient for any man to question his integrity and ingenuity towards God. He that will transgress for a morsel of bread will be ready enough to sell his soul for a grain (Prov 28.21). He that will pervert justice for a few pieces of silver, what will he not do for a hatful of gold? He that dares to lie to save a little of his estate, what will not he do to save his life?
5) A holy heart knows that the least sin cost Christ his dearest blood (Heb 9.22). He knows that the blood of Christ is as requisite to clean the soul from the least sin as it is to cleanse it from the greatest (1 John 1.7). It is not the casting of a little holy water on us, it is not the Papists’ purgatories, nor their whippings, nor St. Francis his kissing or licking of our sores, nor a bishop’s blessing, nor a few tears that can cleanse us from the least sin. No, it is only the blood of Christ that cleanses us from all our sins. Certainly there is not a vain thought nor an idle word nor an angry word that can be pardoned or cleansed but by the blood of Jesus – the remembrance of which cannot but stir up a holy indignation in a gracious soul against the least corruption.