In yesterday’s post, I was discussing a little bit about how compulsions often become habits and then habits become a part of life. Sometimes as time passes, the habits don’t seem so odd or terrible. They become almost comforting, and I find that I don’t really want or feel the need to give them up.
The small sins
Spiritually, I think sometimes small sins can be like this. Maybe we do (or don’t do) something, and at first we know that it wasn’t the right way to act. For whatever reason, though, we keep on with it and gradually that “sin” doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. It’s become a habit. These can be the hardest sins (whether of commission or omission) to shake.
One of my favorite scriptures relating to this idea comes in Alma 22. King Lamoni’s father (whom we know from early mentions in the scriptures wasn’t such a warm, fuzzy individual) is being taught by the Nephite, Aaron. In verse 18, the King says in his very humble prayer,
“O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead.”
I just love the phrase he uses in his prayer of “I will give away all my sins to know thee.”
I think a lot of times we consider sins to be dangerous, harmful, evil things. And okay, sure, I guess by definition that works. But I think sins can also be like crutches for us. We might not think of all of them as such bad things. We may consider them to be weaknesses in our character. I bet we all have sins of omission or commission that just hang on to us. We don’t think of them as major, horrible obstacles to our progression. They are just part of who we are.
In that verse, though, King Lamoni’s father is committing to giving away all of these sins—and apparently the bigger ones, too—to know God. He is willing to give up all of his little crutches, all of the little things that might not be deal breakers, as it were, but are still hindering his progression. Are we willing to do the same?
Bringing it back to OCD, am I willing to give up the compulsions that I’m holding on to in order to recover more fully? Or do I feel like I’m doing “good enough” and am willing to risk a potentially significant relapse by remaining loyal to old habits? Spiritually, are we willing to give up those small, convenient sins in order to fully know God? Or are we okay with feeling like we are “spiritual enough”?
These are personal questions that require self reflection. It can be difficult to find time for that self reflection—and you never know what the outcome will be! I mean, look at what happened to King Lamoni’s father in the end of that verse. But the end result of true change is conversion—and that is worth it.