As I prepared for my upcoming Bible study in the Song of Solomon, a verse in chapter two caught my attention: “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom” (verse 15).
‘Little foxes’ that destroy the vineyard are like the ‘little sins’ that destroy our fruitfulness for God. This picture is not unlike what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 10: “Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink.” (The word for oil is also used for the fragrant anointing oil the Old Testament priests used for anointing the altar of God. Similarly, the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet used a fragrant oil).
What sins do we consider ‘little’? An unwillingness to forgive? Gossip? Pride? A volatile temper? The list for some of us would fill this page. But St. Augustine said it well when he noted: “While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call "light": if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession.”
Be careful about those ‘little sins.’ They tirelessly work to destroy our fruitfulness for Christ. Like so many dead flies, they each create a stench in our life for Christ.
What is our hope? Confession, and a determination to seek God for help in turning away from those little sins and dead flies.