Tag Archives: Lorraine Smith

Big or Little? — Lorraine Smith

Big or little? Large or small? Black or white? Does it really matter? Does it make a difference? Who cares?

The summer our son turned eight years old, he became very sick with high fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, unable to maintain his balance, severe headaches, nausea, and much more. He also had a rash on his stomach area. Here was this extremely active, never-stay-still eight year old and he was completely listless. He could barely move.

Naturally, we were off to our family doctor who also happened to be a good personal friend and our son’s soccer coach. We described all the symptoms. While the doctor was examining Michael, he told us to take his shoes off. My first thought was, “That’s strange.” Although when we did, we saw that the bottoms of his feet were scarlet red. They looked like they had been burned. Dr. Jenkins left the room. He returned quickly with his two associates and most of the nurses. All of us were crammed into a very small examination room. He told them the symptoms and showed them Michael’s feet. He asked if they knew what was wrong. No one guessed correctly. Finally, he said, “Michael has Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.”

Needless to say, we were stunned. How could this be? We had not found a tick on him. All we had ever heard about this sickness was you died from it. Dr. Jenkins explained that a tick did not have to set down and attach itself to give you spotted fever. All it had to do was bite you. He said that the tick could have been brushed away. How could a bite so very small make someone so sick? WE went through three weeks of different symptoms and ailments before Michael gained his strength back to be a normal eight year old once more. How could a bite so small cause so much havoc?

A little bite or a big bite. Does it matter? A large rain or a small shower? Does it make a difference? A little white lie or a big black lie. Who cares? Big, little, large, small, black or white, all of these words are adjectives. They are descriptive words. They describe what is being talked about.

Here are some examples. Let’s say you live in a large house and I live in a small house. Does it make a difference? No, the size of our houses is not in question. We both live in houses. We both have shelter and refuge from the elements. We both have houses. Large and small only describes the amount of money involved. The word with the emphasis is money.

Here’s one more example. We have all heard it said, “I only told a little white lie,” or, “He is a big, fat liar!” Who cares? We all should. A lie is a lie. There is no other way of looking at it. You cannot commit a little murder versus a big murder. That is just too plain silly to even consider. A lie is a lie is a lie. Nothing will change that no matter how many descriptive, elaborate words you use.

Who cares? God does. Let’s take it to the inspired Word. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Simple and to the point.

We are told, “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:22-24). Did you get that? ALL have sinned. There are no big sins or little sins. There are no supersized sins. There are no mini sins. A sin is a sin is a sin no matter what adjective you use to describe it. One sin is no better or worse than another. There are not good or bad sins. It is all the same. There is no difference. Guess what? We all have it. This is where salvation through Christ Jesus and God’s continual amazing grace steps in. Without those two things, all would be hopeless.

Does it really matter? Salvation does. Christ Jesus stepped in and took our place. He placed all our sins upon Himself. He became our sacrifice for sin. He is our propitiation or appeasement to God Almighty. He became our Justifier to God (Rom. 3:25-26). Yet it is up to us to accept salvation. It is up to us to do God’s will.

Does it make a difference? As I said earlier, sin is sin. Does the type of sin make a difference? Are there big or little sins? The answer is definitely no! Look at what God revealed in His Word:

“But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolater, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:8-11).

“But as for the cowardly, faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and ALL liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8, emphasis added).

As you can see, God sees no difference in the type of sins. He has the cowardly in the same group as murderers. He has faithless and greedy in the same group as drunkards. God makes no distinction about big or little lies; He covers them in one little word: “all.” To our heavenly Father, the type of impenitent sin makes no difference.

Who cares? God does. Revelation 21:7 simply states, “The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” Solomon put it this way: “The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:13-14). We must realize that we cannot hide anything from God. He is in control.

Are there big and little sins? No. Just as that tiny unseen tick caused a huge sickness with even the threat of death, it was not the size that was the problem. It was the tick. Sin is the same. No matter how big or little you think the sin is, it is the sin that causes the sickness with the threat of eternal death and alienation from God.

Does the type of sin matter? No. Does the kind of sin make a difference? No. Who cares? We all should and must. The Lord revealed to John, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing My recompense with Me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the river of life and that they may enter the city by the gates” (Rev. 22:12-14).

Lorraine is the author of the books Just Asking and Heaven? or Hell? A Soul’s Choice.

 

An Overworked Word With Underfelt Meaning — Lorraine Smith

There are certain words we need to be careful about how we use them or throw them around.  One word we use on a daily basis has probably become the most overworked and overused word we know today.  It is a simple four-letter word.  Everyone uses it.  We have allowed this word to come out of our mouths repeatedly day in and day out.  The word is love.

Just think about it for a moment.  Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:  “I love gardening!”  “I just love your shoes!”  “I’d love to see that!”  “I love baseball!”  “I love to hunt and fish!”  “I absolutely love my morning coffee!”  “I really love to eat at that restaurant!”  “I love you to the moon and back!”  “I love spending time with my family!”  “I love this great weather we’re having!”  “I love the holidays!”  “I love to read, play games, and watch television!”  The list can go on for miles.  We are like the McDonald’s catch phrase, “I’m Lovin’ It,” all over the spectrum.  In most cases, we don’t even realize we are doing it.

There are volumes upon volumes of poetry and songs written with love as the theme.  No matter the genre, most all songs are about love for someone, something, or a broken heart from lost love.  “Can’t Buy Me Love.”  “Love Me Do.”  “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”  “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”  And hymns too.  “Faithful Love.”  “Love Lifted Me.”  “I Love The Lord,” just to name a few.

Love is the most misunderstood and misused word in our language.  It is used so loosely it has lost its true meaning, becoming very commonplace.  We need to step back and discern what love is, especially true love.

I think there is a difference between how women and men think about love in our society.  I also know there are different types of love, or maybe I should say degrees of love.  You do not have the same love for your spouse as you do for your children.  You do not have the same degree of love for your children as you do for your friends.  Each makes your heart sing the same song but with different verses or tunes.  I know I do not have the same degree of love for my husband now as when we first married.  Isn’t that marvelous?  God made our hearts with the ability to expand as big as the universe to accommodate different and many loves.

Love is an instinct while so much of our behavior is learned.  There again, we are created that way.  Love can’t be explained away with a simple definition.  Genuine, true love is a longing, a burning and a wanting to cling to someone.  Love grows just like we do.  It has a beginning, matures and grows.  When I hear someone say, “We fell in love,” the very first thing that pops into my mind is, “It hurts when you fall.”  I have never understood “falling” in or out of love.  It’s just not that easy.  Genuine, true love cannot be swept aside so easily and quickly bestowed on the next stranger who walks through the door.

God’s Word has more to say about love than we can begin to fathom.  We are born to love.  The Almighty designed us to be that way.  Matthew 22:34-40 is a short passage of God’s Word that man has named “The Greatest Command.”  It reads:  “But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.  One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question to test Him.  ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’  And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Our love for the Lord and His Word needs to be deep in our very souls with a never-ending, burning desire to be with Him.  We need to have an aching, longing thirst to know more and more about him, a thirst which cannot be quenched.  Love for the Almighty is not a one-time deal.  It needs to be constant and ever present in our minds as well as our hearts.  If we can love God this way (which we absolutely can), then we will have love for one another and love for ourselves.  This love will stimulate us to do our very best.  It will create in us the desire to be with fellow Christians as much as possible to share this love and share the Lord together.  This love will generate our spirituality to heights we would never think possible.  In turn, this love will aid in every aspect of our personal lives, our work, our friends, and especially in our families.  Just imagine the domino effect that will impact everything we do!

The book of 1 John is a guide book to love.  Please notice how gentle John speaks, calling Christians “beloved” and “little children,” giving us the truth but in love.  “Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves  the world, the love of the Father is not in Him…See what kind of love the Father has given to us; that we should be called children of God…Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him…For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another…We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.  Whoever does not love abides in death…If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth…Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this the love of God has made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.  In this love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us…Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.  God is love and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.  For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  We love because He first loved us.  If anyone says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother…Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him.  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments…” (1 John 2:15; 3:1-2, 11, 17-18; 4:7-12, 15-21; 5:1-3).

It all comes down to this.  We need to love God in the way and manner He wants from us.  After that, everything else will fall into place.  God is willing to help us anyway He can.  All we have to do is allow Him to do so.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37).

Lorraine worships at and is involved in the work of the Calhoun Church of Christ in Calhoun, GA.  She is the author of the books Just Asking and Heaven? or Hell? A Soul’s Choice.