Sometimes I get asked to review books, and sometimes I seek out publishers and I ask them if I may review a book. This is a book I immediately asked to review after I saw the cover. Not only do I really happen to like the cover of this book, but I knew right away that it was a topic I needed to learn more about. I imagine it’s a topic that most of us need to really sit and think about: little sins.
Little Sins Mean A Lot: Kicking Our Bad Habits Before They Kick Us by Elizabeth Scalia was a delightful read. I was worried it would be heavy. Even though I don’t avoid books that are serious and give me a good dose of tough love, this book delivered wisdom and challenge in a breezy, humorous way. Scalia should be proud of pulling that off.
The book features thirteen little sins that we allow ourselves to indulge in. We justify them, we ignore them, or we are purely unaware of them. There is a chapter for each little sin. I thought I would need to hear about several them, but it turned out, I genuinely needed to hear about all thirteen!
There are some sins I suffer from publically and others I suffer from only in my mind.
“We forget how awful grave sin can feel until we give ourselves permission to indulge in it.”
What truth. This is hard to stomach. I know precisely how slimy and yucky I feel when I do something bad intending to ask for forgiveness later. It’s as if the sin is compounded; rolled in extra sin sludge and then hung around my neck.
Scalia talks about the dark joy of gossip. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to unhear that phrase: dark joy of gossip. Gossiping does feel like dark joy, and it’s hard to stop once you’ve started. I feel as if she gave me some armor to protect myself with, helping me to put words to destructive habit that so many of us moms participate in.
Later in the book, as Scalia talks about gloominess and griping, she says,
“Truly, marinating in our gripes and complaints only softens us up for the evil one, who cheerfully helps us climb into quite a stewpot of our own miserable creation — and there we hide in the darkness, with a fire below, until we bubble down to nothing. Where God is not.”
Whew! Don’t worry, the whole chapter wasn’t as heavy as the phrase above, but I needed those words. When we wallow in our negativity, we are where God is not.
Each chapter has several Bible verses and saint quotes to drive home the dangers of each little sin. She then offers a prayer that you can stop and say right then. I find myself really appreciating the tone of her prayers. They are not flowery or forced. They feel very real, much like a prayer I would actually say off the top of my head.
In America, we are so blessed. We have so many luxuries, so much freedom, and so much comfort that it’s easy for us to give in to these little sins. It’s easy for us to indulge ourselves and to allow bad habits to grow. This book is a great wake-up call.
What little sins have you allowed to grow into large and maybe even grave sins?
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Copyright 2017 Sterling Jaquith
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