When we were children in America during the 1950s we grew up being constantly taught through the slogan, “Bit by bit by every little bit – – – EVERY LITTER BIT HURTS.”
We were taught to keep America clean. As school children we were taught never to discard any trash, no matter how small it might be, without discarding it in a trash bin or appropriate disposal container. Automobile owners were instructed to always have a trash bag in their vehicles. No trash was ever to be thrown out the window of a vehicle. When driving down a road, we were constantly reminded with warning signs along the road that read: “UP TO $500 FINE IF CONVICTED OF LITTERING!” And since 25 cents was a great deal of money to a young boy in those days, we were fearful of ever throwing any rubbish out the vehicle window.
The advertisements and warnings changed America. America cleaned up. Even to this day, we are compelled to always dispose of waste in an appropriate container or rubbish bin. It is a part of our culture. America was cleaned up bit by bit, by every litter bit.
Oceans are maintained by small rain drops. Beaches are composed of small grains of sand. All matter in the universe is a combination of atoms that the eye cannot see. And when discussing the energy of the organic body of Christ, each individual member “bit” throughout the world is a united force that is organically combined against the forces of evil. Great things happen when little bits work together. But also, a great tragedy happens when little bits become a detriment to the whole, especially if they are little bits of evil in our lives.
When little bits of unrighteousness are allowed to invade the behavior of each member of the body, then the body becomes diseased. Though we are strong when united, we as individual members of the body can individually deteriorate spiritually with the smallest of evils that may seem harmless in our lives. James reminded all of us: “Even so, the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by a small fire!” (Js 3:5). Every little harsh word hurts. Little bits can trash our souls.
We must not forget the Holy Spirit’s warning: “For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil” (Ec 12:14). We will give account for every little bit that may litter our souls. With those words on their minds, the early disciples heard the Master warn, “But I say to you, that every idle word that men will speak, they will give account for it in the day of judgment” (Mt 12:36; see Rm 12:14). Every little bit hurts.
As disciples of Divinity, we must keep in mind that every bit of trash in our lives hurts our relationship with one another, but especially our relationship with God. It is for this reason that Christians must be on the lookout for those small things in their hearts and minds that will lead them away from God, and subsequently, destroy their discipleship.
We each have our “demons” with which we must deal, and thus, it takes more than ourselves to slay these unrighteous attitudes and behavioral traits. It was for this reason that James mandated, “Confess your sins [‘demons’] to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed” (Js 5:16). Through individual prayer, we can receive power to overcome. But many times, we need the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ in order to overcome those bits of trash in our lives that persistently plague our efforts to be the living sacrifice we desire to be. When “demons” persist, then it is time to call in the army of our brothers and sisters in Christ to offer up prayers for us.
[Lecture continues March 30.]