“Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
— James 1:15
Have you ever stood at the top of a slippery slope—perhaps a steep and icy driveway or even a hill of dirt that crumbles beneath your feet—lost your footing, and slid down to the bottom? Sin is like that. We might justify a “tiny” sin to achieve a dearly desired goal. “After all,” we say, “a little compromise won’t hurt.” But one little sin leads to another, and before you know it, you tumble downhill, head over heels, out of control.
We see this principle in action in a rather obscure story in 2 Kings 8, the story of Hazael. Hazael was a servant to the great king of Syria, Ben-Hadad, who had heaped upon Hazael many favors and honors. But the king fell ill, so he sent Hazael to the prophet Elisha to inquire whether he would recover from the illness. Elisha instructed Hazael, “Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover.’ However the Lord has shown me that he will really die.” Elisha stared at Hazael until Hazael felt ashamed. Hazael knew that the prophet had seen into his heart, that he could not hide his evil plans from God. But Hazael loved his own goal, his own ambition, more than he loved righteousness. So Elisha began to weep, and Hazael asked, “Why is my lord weeping?” And he said, “Because I know the evil you will do to the children of Israel.” Hazael wondered aloud, “But what is your servant—a dog, that he should do this gross thing?” Hazael returned to the king and reported that the king would surely recover. But the very next day, Hazael suffocated him. And before long, Hazael invaded Israel and ravished its land and people just as Elisha had said he would.
This story shows us the inherent sin that lies within the depths of each of our souls. For Hazael, what began as ambition led down the slippery slope to murder and later to genocide.
Always be on guard. Never justify a sin, a “slight” wrong, or a white lie. If you do, you might find yourself slipping down that slippery slope.