Whosoever therefore shall break one. of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.
A great many people are careful about breaking large commandments and committing grave sins, while they continually and without scruple do little wrong things.
They would not tell a direct lie for the world, but their speech is full of little falsehoods. They would not take money from the pocket or drawer of another, and yet they continually commit small thefts. For example, the grocer by mistake gives them a penny too much change, and they do not think of returning it. Through the carelessness of an official the postage stamp on a letter is left uncancelled, and they take it off and use it a second time. They would not try to blacken a neighbour’s name or destroy his character, and yet they repeat to others the evil whispers about him which they have heard, and thus soil his reputation. They would not swear or curse in the coarse way of the street, but they are continually using such words as Gracious! Goodness! Mercy! and other mild, timid substitutes for profane oaths. They would not do flagrant acts of wickedness to disgrace themselves, but their lives are honeycombed with all manner of little meannesses, inpurities, selfishnesses, and bad tempers.
We need to remember that little disobediences bring one down to an inferior place, harming our witness for the kingdom of heaven. Little sins mar the beauty of the character. Then they are sure to grow. Ofttimes, too, they are infinite in their consequences. The little rift in the lute widens and by-and-by destroys all the music. The trickling leak in the dike becomes a torrent deluging vast plains. We ought never to indulge even the smallest faults or evil habits, but should aim always at perfection. We ought to be satisfied with nothing less than perfection in character, and perfection is made up of trifles.