A Common Yet Subtle Sin

There is a sin which a Catholic priest once declared that no one had ever confessed to him sin so deadly that the wrath of God comes upon men because of it; a sin so common that probably everybody has at some time been guilty of it; a sin so gross in the sight of God as to be classed with whoremongery, idolatry, murder, and such like; a sin so subtle that men most guilty of it seem to be most unconscious of lightning it; a sin that has led to the ruin of homes, to the doom of cities, the downfall of kings, the overthrow of empires, the collapse of civilizations, the damnation of an apostle, of ministers of the Gospel, and of millions of less conspicuous men. Men in the highest and most sacred positions of trust, and enjoying the most unlimited confidence of their fellow-men, have, under the spell of this sin, wrecked their good names, and have brought shame to their families, and misfortune, want, and woe to their fellows.

When amid the thunderings and lightnings of Mount Sinai, God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, one of the ten was against this sin. When Lot lost all he had in the doom of Sodom and Gomorrah, it was primarily because of this sin. When Nadab and Abihu were suddenly consumed by the fierce fires of God’s wrath, at the bottom of their transgression was this sin. When Achan and his household were stoned, it was because of this sin. When Eli and his sons lost the priesthood and died miserably, it was at root because of this sin. When Saul lost his kingdom, it was because this sin had subtly undermined his loyalty to God. When Ahab died and the dogs licked his blood, he was meeting the doom of this sin. When David fell from heights of God’s tender favor and fellowship, and brought shame and confusion upon himself, and incurred God’s hot displeasure and lifelong trouble, it was because of this sin.

When Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, went out from the presence of the prophet smitten with leprosy white as snow, it was because of this sin. When Judas betrayed the Master with a kiss, thus making his name a synonym of everlasting obloquy, and bringing upon himself the death of a dog and a fool, it was because of WW1 this sin. When Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead at Peter’s feet, they suffered the dread penalty of this sin. When the great war burst forth in 1914, enveloping the earth in its wrathful flame, sweeping away the splendid young manhood of the world in storms of steel and rivers of blood, and engulfing the accumulated wealth of ages in a bottomless pit of destruction, the disaster could be traced to the unrestricted and deadly workings of this awful, secret, silent, pitiless sin.

But what is the sin that the Catholic priest never heard mentioned in his confessional — this sin that apostles and priests, and shepherds and servants have committed, and upon which the swift, fierce lightnings of God’s wrath have fallen — this sin of which every one at some time has probably been guilty, and yet which is so secret and subtle that those most enthralled by it are most unconscious of it?

Find out here.

Related: The Missing Commandment

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