We raised pigs when the boys were still with us. Every fall we put a new one in the freezer and it kept us well fed for a year. But after raising them, I can say with authority that it was a brave man who first ate one. Leaning over to put the feed in the trough and coming face to face with a snorting, muddy, ugly, animal whose head was twice as big as mine, and who nose was always running and caked with a mixture of dirt and feed was nothing short of disgusting. I never had a bit of trouble come slaughtering day, despite the fact that we named them all—either Hamlet or Baconette, depending upon gender.
When we have sinned against God, we need to reach the point that young man did, bending over and finding himself face to face with a filthy, reeking, disgusting animal. We need to understand how low we have sunk. For some it may not take as much. Their “rock bottom” may be a realization that comes from private study and its conviction, or someone’s chance comment in a Bible class that hits the mark. That may be enough to turn their hearts. But for the stubborn, the arrogant, and the foolish, it will always take more. They have to have their noses rubbed in the mud of the sty to realize that they are indeed eating with the pigs.
But we must not think this is only for those who have “left” and then returned. This needs to happen every time we sin, not just the “big ones.” Why do you think those little sins keep plaguing us? Because we have never seen them as anything but “little.” We have let our culture and our own pride keep us from comprehending the enormity of sin and what it does to our relationship with our God. Nothing that caused the death of the Son of God is “little.” For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Rom 3:23. We don’t understand “glory” if we think that even the tiniest amount of sin can stand in its presence. We have to, in the words of Ezekiel, remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations, 36:31.
So the next time you pray for forgiveness, ask yourself first if you recognize how far you have fallen; if you understand that any sin is horrible; that even the tiniest sin, as men count them, makes you forever unworthy to stand in the presence of an Almighty God.
Ask yourself if you realize that you have been eating with the pigs.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter, 2 Cor 7:10,11.