It Is Nothing
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
~ James 1:14
(The Screwtape Letters is a clever novel by C. S. Lewis about how human practices undermine Christianity. Screwtape himself is a devil, one of Satan's top henchmen, sent to earth to undermine Christianity. The quote is part of a letter sent by Screwtape to Satan, to describe his progress in steering people away from Christ, whom he calls “The Enemy.”)
Screwtape Emphasizes the Importance of Little Sins:
The Christians describe the Enemy as one ‘without whom Nothing is strong’. And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off.
You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy.
It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
Lord, let me see and repent every spot of sin, no matter how small. Amen.
~ from “The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis