One’s experience will never surpass scripture for truth; however, it might be significant as a possible revelation to a truth, if it agrees with the scriptures. So I’m going to tell you my “sins” as best I can remember them as a child. Not that there were not more of them, but I’m not writing a diary. Just giving you examples of my progression into what I think became sin against God. If you know about David’s sin with Bathsheba and understand his cry in Psalm 51, “against you (God) and you only have I sinned.” We know he sinned by adultery and murder against his loyal friend, but the ultimate despair was because he sinned against God.
When I was small, probably about four, I was at my aunt’s home in a room alone. As a curious child, I opened a sewing machine drawer and there was a package of gum. I took a stick. I don’t know whether or not I chewed it. If I did, I must not have been asked about where I got it. Maybe I hid it. Whatever happened, that is my first memory of doing wrong.
The next thing I will tell about must have happened after I started to school. I have no idea where I picked up dirty words; maybe from kids at school. Anyway I remember going to the outhouse and muttering those words aloud, but I’m sure it was not loud enough to be heard outside that five by six foot outhouse. I definitely did not heat up the airwaves. And just so you know, those words were nothing like the vulgar words used now. They were more like heck, hell, gee, or darn. Maybe they got a little worse, but my “obscene” vocabulary was very limited. In my mind, however, I was pushing the limits. I stress, “in my mind.” That is significant in the route to rebellion against God.
Sometime around nine or so I remember having thoughts that if written down could have made me a best seller! Where did such thoughts come from? There was no filth in my Christian home—not in the form of people, talk, jokes, radio, magazines, or anything I can think of. All my people were Christians who believed salvation made you “walk right and talk right” and they believed sanctification even removed the desire to sin. And they lived what they taught.
Follow me through the progression of these “sins.”
When I took the gum, my conscience hurt me. I don’t remember being afraid of a spanking or anything like that, but I guess I could say I was ashamed of my behavior. I did know it was wrong.
About saying the dirty words. Did my conscience hurt me? I don’t think so but you can bet I did not let my mom know about it. I feared displeasing her. I only remember one spanking she gave me, but she had a way that forbade any crossing her authority! But as I said above, I recognized that I was pushing the limits in my behavior.
The dirty words and ugly thoughts happened about the same time, but I consider the thoughts a more serious issue. From thoughts come actions. Fortunately the thoughts did not turn to actions. I’m so thankful for good parents, for my Christian roots. Sometime about that age I must have recognized my ugliness before God, no one else knew. But I was guilty. Sin was taking a hold on me.
Through all these years I was taught about Jesus and that he loved me. I was rooted in John 3:16. I do not remember when those prayers took hold with real understanding that Jesus had saved me. But it had to have happened; I knew enough to know I must be a Christian before I joined the church, which I did at ten years old. All the above “sins” happened before that. Being saved and joining the church did not make an angel out of me, but I was different. I think my mom still combed my hair, and popped the top of my head with the comb when I whined! She probably thought I should trust her judgment about how hard to pull to get the tangles out.
Admittedly I feel like that when combing others’ hair. I might be wrong, but mom probably wasn’t wrong very often, and I might add God never is—you probably better trust his warnings while they are still “pops on the head.” Suffering God’s wrath will not be pleasant. And I think nothing perplexes him more than one rejecting the great suffering of his Son.