There are three goldfinches in the United States. American goldfinches, Lawrence’s goldfinches and lesser goldfinches. The picture above is of a lesser goldfinch. These birds are a great example of the old saying it’s not the size of the goldfinch in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the goldfinch. Or something like that.
Lesser goldfinch overlap the range of the Lawrence’s goldfinch. This causes the two species to interact a great deal at feeders, nesting territories and the like. When these interactions take place the smaller lesser goldfinch dominates the larger Lawrence’s goldfinch. It will always chase them off at feeders so the Lawrence goldfinch have to feed last, and lesser goldfinch will drive them out of the best nesting opportunities.
Christians might want to remember the lesser goldfinch when they begin to think of lesser sins in their life. We tend to think of sins as smaller and larger. We want to believe we can measure the damage they do and therefore assign them a size. There are multiple problems with this logic.
It begins with assuming God looks at sin the way we do. But this is simply not true. God sees all sin as rebellion against Him and the right ways of living He designed. Sin is therefore a rejection of Him and defining rejections as bigger or smaller is simply nonsensical.
Another problem with the logic is we bias what we define as big or small problems based on our own behavior. Basically we define our sins as small and the sins of people we don’t like as big. For example we all know someone who is unfaithful and we count that as a big sin, but our looking is seen as a lesser issue.
We would be better off to remember the lesser goldfinch. Small things can have a big impact. Consider Matthew 5:27-28 (HCSB) “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”