“Did you hear about Millie?” Caroline asked excitedly.

“Why no, I didn’t,” replied Beth.

“I heard rumors that she stole that expensive ring she was wearing on Sunday from the department store. It’s so obvious that she could never afford it, so it must be true. Pass it on,” exclaimed Caroline.

The next Sunday, Millie sat solemnly in the pew. Several women stared at her “stolen ring” as they passed. Millie was deeply hurt by the rumor. Her new ring was an anniversary present from her husband and now she was ashamed to wear it.

Caroline’s sin of gossiping may have seemed petty, but it was still willful sin.  Although a willful sin may seem small, the Lord still considers it serious. In Acts 5, the consequences of willful sin are illustrated in the lives of Ananias and Sapphira. Because they lied about the amount of money they were giving to the church by withholding some of what they received from the sale of their property, the Lord struck them both dead.

The Lord does not take sin any less seriously today. Perhaps you are willfully sinning by lying, lusting, or gossiping like Caroline. Take a moment to bring your sin before the Lord and humbly ask for forgiveness. The Lord chastens those He loves and graciously forgives His precious children. He is our compassionate, heavenly Father Whose mercies are new every day.

Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is hurtful. – Benjamin Franklin

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder