I’m sure that I am not the only person who has read it online or witnessed situation whereby people condemns others for melting out punishments which they perceive is outrageous and not commensurate with the offence done to what is often termed “petty thief”. When someone who steals a phone worth of fifty thousand or something less in value is caught, such fellow is usually beaten to pulp by eager hands who have probably fallen prey of such wickedness since they know how it feels but if such a minor stealing could attract such major punishment, why are our politicians still walking confidently on the street despite the billions suspected to have been stolen and we still hail them? Should stealing a fifty thousand naira worth of phone or less not take lesser punishment while those who steal billions should be the ones being lynched and sometimes burnt with tyres and petrol?
In the kingdom of God, as some other religion preaches, God will definitely not give equal judgment to every sin so that a petty thief that steals phone and a big thief who steals the commonwealth will have different accommodation in hell fire with the latter staying in the hottest part. Now, consider my story.
The day I lost my phone at Oshodi in Lagos, it felt like the whole world was going to crash on me. Certainly if someone had stolen my wallet or debit my account with far more amount of money than my phone is worth, it would not have pained me that much. First, my phone was like a mini library with over a thousand different books in different formats which I may never completely regain again including documents who were mainly my intellectual properties consisting of edited writeups, poems and proposals including my updated CV which was always ready to be submitted for better opportunities whenever occasion demands. Apart from the books, I used to document my daily experience in a mobile diary including my supernatural encounters which are completely impossible to remember in details not to talk of pictures and video clips of defining moments that went down the drain all in one day by the single action of one petty thief who believed snatching that phone in traffic to sell off at cheaper price will solve part of his financial problems.
Considering the pain I felt that day and afterwards when I left my place of work to queue for hours to get my simcard replaced, I doubt if I wouldn’t have approved of jungle justice method if such petty thief was caught that day. I know a lot of my readers have gone through or know people with similar experience and they will agree with me that little theft do as much harm as the big robbery. The book of 1John 5:17a says that “All unrighteousness is sin”. It does not matter whether the sin is as big as the whole universe or as small as a drop of water, what makes it a sin is the fact that it is not righteous and whatever is not righteous displease God. The mentality or belief that one sin is bigger and should attract unequal punishment from God is not biblical but it has become entrenched in many Christian’s subconsciousness such that people now openly justify how they are a lesser sinner than the next person.
I was having conversation sometimes last month with a friend who told me about how certain people she knew to be real sinners in her church took holy communion without hesitation while sober sinners like her were trying to avoid taken the blessed food. In her definition, she admitted that she is not righteous but her sins like lying and occasional abuse of people are not glaring and openly proclaimed like some of those she was referring to who were known to be fornicators and dress indecently to cause many to sin. This same unfounded believe is why we have many Bible scholars and teachers today who believe that David deserves more punishment than Saul having to have (in their view) committed greater sin than Saul did. After all, Saul did not sleep with another man’s wife unlawfully and proceeded to arrange his untimely death. But that was not the position of Jesus when he was on earth and certainly not his position now that He is in heaven. The reason for this is no far-fetched, we often want to believe that the law of God says something other than what it really says. That is not a new phenomenon, for the Jews in the time of Jesus also had this beliefs, that is why Jesus had to teach his disciples and other people the correct perception of God concerning sin by showing them the difference between what the law says and what they believe the law should have said.
To bring this matter to perspective, Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 5:20 that, “I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” (NLT). So, what is the righteousness of the pharisees and how does it relate to this discourse? The scribes were the most noted teachers of the law, and the Pharisees the most celebrated professors of it during the time of Jesus on earth. They were so much revered and respected by people to be pius by showing every tendency that portrayed them as having attained the highest pitch of religion. They were believed to be sure candidates of heaven whom everyone aspire to be like, it is therefore unbelievable that Jesus would assert that whoever will inherit the kingdom of God must surpass them in righteousness. What an irony!
Although their credibility in fasting and prayer, and giving of alms including punctuality in observing the ceremonial appointments, to the extent that they made it their business to teach others are commendable; they were no less enemies to Christ and his doctrine and played a huge part in orchestrating his eventual crucifixion.
What this means is that the important things that glorify God are neglected, minding only the outward actions when they could have consciously chase the godliness that proceeds from inside. While Pharisees aimed at the praise and applause of men, we must aim at acceptance of God. They were proud of what they did in religion, and trusted it as righteousness but we, when we have done all, must deny ourselves, and say, “we are unprofitable servants”, and trust only the righteousness of Christ. That is when we may go beyond the scribes and Pharisees which only makes us see some sins as lesser than others.
So, our Lord said that contrary to what you and I think, he that commits murder will get the same punishment as the one that gets angry at his brother as well as the one that called another “idiot” even when it is the latter that provoked him. Unlike my friend who believe some are obvious sinners who should rightly not be partaker of communion because their fornication is obvious, it is the same ball game for those that cannot discipline their eyes to look at opposite sex lust fully. 1 John 3:8, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil”.
God’s standard will never be shifted for anybody because ignorant is not an excuse on the day of judgment. It is instructive and wise not allow the devil to take advantage of your penchant for self pleasure and worldly approval to sow a seed of deceit in you and make you believe that God’s standard according to the Bible cannot be true. Do not be deceived for God cannot be bullied into changing His ways by your beliefs.
Every sin carries equal weight and will take you to hell fire if you die without repenting from them. 1 Corinthians 6:9a says “know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” Because whoever is living in any kind and form of sin is of the devil and are enemies of God. What are you waiting for my brothers and sisters? That little sin will not just stop you from enjoying the fulness of God, they will drag you to hell.