In May, the temperature in Brisbane was wonderful. You know that sort of weather where the days are warm, bright and you can enjoy the sunshine on your back. The evenings are cool as soon as the sun has gone and you can enjoy snuggling into the doona that’s been sitting at the back of your cupboard over summer.

In my experience, living in Brisbane, this gradual temperature change downwards usually becomes noticeable in April. In May, things get a bit cooler and then we reach June, when it is actually cold (yes, I am acclimatised to Brisbane and am not going to tell you the actual temperatures because you’ll find me too soft!)

In June, the sun dawdles at the horizon, and if you don’t rug up, you will face the consequences. There’s often mist out on the ground as I head out to walk the dog. By then, it’s ‘see your breath’ cold.

A gradual temperature change can be a bit like sin in our lives. As the temperature drops slowly, we are less likely to notice it

In July, I usually wear a beanie—but I try to hold out till then, so I’ve still got something to add as the thermometer heads downwards. This year July was very cold in Brisbane: heaters were on; extra warm clothes and jackets were dusted off. The cold temperature dominated conversations and news broadcasts.

A gradual temperature change can be a bit like sin in our lives. As the temperature drops slowly, we are less likely to notice it—and the same is true as we allow ‘small sins’ (as we often like to think of them) into our lives. A white lie here, a speeding infraction there, swearing somewhere, and before we know it, gossip and pride are cropping up everywhere.

It’s so easy to slide down that slippery slope. My family can quickly attest to this in my own case with multiple examples.

Here’s a recent one that springs to mind that I hope encourages you, but know it’s not an isolated incident.

Mornings are hectic for us—there are many tasks that need to be completed before we head out for the day. It’s busy, and it’s early, and we have many moving parts to remember. The other day I felt that my son was not doing enough while I was feeling overwhelmed with all that I had to do. ‘This is completely unfair,’ was the refrain going around in my head.

So, instead of sitting down with my son and making a plan—parcelling out what needed to be done—I lashed out. And it was not a gentle lash; it was harsh and unkind. He retaliated with an equally unkind comment, and we said a few more graceless words to each other before walking away. We were both mad at each other, and we were both being childish. But only one of us was actually a child.

I stormed off in righteous indignation and slammed the door, fuming at the rudeness of my own flesh and blood. How dare he say those things to me! Why couldn’t he appreciate how much I do for him?

After I cooled down, I realised that I was just feeling too overwhelmed and that was not, in fact, his fault, but that my reaction had more to do with things going on with me—including a lack of sleep and not having had any breakfast. I prayed. After I had eaten my breakfast, I prayed for forgiveness and felt peace, but I still knew that I needed to apologise to my son.
Unfortunately, he had already left for the day, so I spent the whole day feeling like a crummy parent—reproaching myself for being too ‘this’ and not enough ‘that’.

Yet that afternoon, when we sat down, and I said sorry and tried to explain my frustrations, he said five words that changed me.

‘Mum, I have moved on.’

He wasn’t holding onto his Mum’s lack of care or rudeness. He was moving forward. He was being kind and had overlooked my offence.

My son, who is much younger than me, has a better grip on this verse more than I do.

See how the temperature was dropping, and I had let sin in without noticing and that had led me to be mean to my son? A kid who is an excellent person and super kind to everyone, someone I regularly tell is ‘tied for 3rd best in the whole entire world’ (after God and his Dad)!
I was reminded of this verse in Proverbs:

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offence. (Proverbs 19:11)

My son, who is much younger than me, has a better grip on this verse more than I do. What a rebuke!

I will try harder in the future to be slow to anger. I cannot guarantee that I will succeed every time, but I know without a doubt that God will help me. His promises are sure, and he won’t leave me on my own. We can fight sin by being aware as it slowly infiltrates our life and pushing back against it, and returning to the warmth of our Heavenly Father’s arms.

What do you need to push back against? Where are you growing cold?