I have a little print-paper icon of St. Moses of Ethiopia that I use as a bookmark. It is currently in use as I read My Life in Christ by St. John of Kronstadt as part of my bedroom prayer rule. On the icon are these words from the African monastic,
Even in little sins, let us force ourselves and not become lazy for truly we have forgiveness of sins
From the Russian priest, I found these words on page 58,
Most men not only bear Satan’s burden willingly in their hearts, but they become so accustomed to it that they often do not feel it, and even imperceptibly increase it
It is not hard for us to wake up and repent of our “big” sins. We are quick to be offended, saddened, or feel some other emotion when an obvious act of immorality has been committed. If our vision along our spiritual journey goes no further than what can readily be seen, then Satan has blinded us. As long as we aren’t observant that we don’t fall for the “minor” temptations and make excuses for us committing them, the evil one is allowing us to rot from the inside. He is often waiting for the rot to set in so deeply that when faced with a major temptation, we will fall quite easily and not realize how we could do such a thing.
Oh, it is a little thing for a man to “check out” a shapely woman every now and then and consider it harmless. Yet, our Lord taught us better;
But, I say to you, if a man looks upon a woman to lust for her, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)
In many cases of child molestation and rape it is not unusual for law enforcement to find the perpetrator had a pornography habit. Affairs and fornication begin with the eyes and the mind long before the sexual organs are involved. And rather than confront a son’s (or daughter’s, I suppose) lengthy times in the restroom or alone online, even Christian parents resign themselves to the phrase, “boys will be boys.” The perpetual laziness in not being watchful against and embracing lust is the cause of men and women failing at relationships as we don’t know how to relate to one another as beings who pursue purity of heart. Even as we pursue our “soul mates,” lust stains our souls so that we wouldn’t know the “right one” unless an archangel actually pointed him (or her) out. And even if we do find a good spouse, those little sins left unchecked and well fed are able to rot the best of marriages.
Murder can begin with unchecked anger, theft with envy, hate with pride; every “big” sin begins with a “little” sin, or a series of “little” sins. Care must be taken that we search them out within ourselves in times of contemplation and prayer. We who seek God cannot afford to accept the worldly excuses for them. They must not be tolerated in ourselves. But, we must repent of them no matter how minor they may seem.