Occasionally, the unthinkable happens. The athlete loses control and careens down the mountain. The consequences are devastating. After all the years of hard work, the athlete is disqualified from the event. Even worse, an out-of-control fall sometimes results in a major injury.
This afternoon I had my own encounter with a slippery slope. No, it wasn’t in the mountains. My mid-western home state has only gentle hills that closely hug the earth. No, it wasn’t on snow. While it has been a bitterly cold winter with lots of snow and ice, the past few days have been warm. Temperatures in the 40s and even 50s have melted most of the snow, so I wandered out on the nature trails. Ice lingered in the shaded spots, and the trails were wet and muddy, but I stayed on the sides of the paths, allowing the dried grass to provide a secure foothold.
One misstep is all it took. Stepping with my left foot on the gently sloping right side of the path, I felt my foot slide out from under me, and bam! I found myself in the mud. Resting on my left knee, the shin side of my right leg, and my right hand, I hurt. I wondered for a moment how long it would take my husband to find me on these meandering paths. My right wrist and leg hurt, but I quickly realized I wasn’t injured. I was able to get to my feet and continue walking. The pain lingered for a while, and the jeans would have to be laundered, but I came out no worse for the fall.
I am thankful I wasn’t injured in my fall down the slippery slope. As I continued walking, I thought about spiritual slippery slopes. Some appear mountainous, like substance abuse or infidelity. Others seem like tiny little slopes, like gossip or criticism. We all have our own slippery slopes, don’t we? A fall down any of these, whether mountainous or tiny, can be deadly.
Unfortunately, we venture onto those slippery slopes of sin and we fall. Fortunately, our God is full of grace. He is willing to gently lift us up and dust us off. He whispers, "Go, and sin no more" and sets us back on level ground.