These two words are very scary words unless you are trying to purchase something and the salesman tells you a really really good price like "it's only a dollar". Of course I guess in that case, depending on what you are looking at buying, they could still be scary words. Especially if you like to shop or love finding a great deal on something.
For me when I was in high school and early college, I loved to find the best deal possible on clothes. As a result, I ended up with a lot of clothes that I got cheap but later decided I really didn't want to wear. But in the moment I convinced myself with those two little words, "It's only..." Probably one of my more infamous moments in this regard came when I found a green sweater that was 100% cashmere and had a retail price of $300. I had found it on sale for $29. Knowing that I had a great deal on my hands, I had to have it. I think I wore it twice, but the truth is I didn't even like the sweater. But what it did do for me was become a reminder hanging in my closet that just because "It's only..." doesn't always mean it is a good deal.
When these two words get really frightening is when we find that we are using them to explain away sins or sinful patterns in our life or maybe using them to justify consuming media, information, and possibly even food that is not what God wants for our lives. We can easily slide into a gluttonous state of mind when it comes to what we will allow in our hearts, minds, and life. Because with two little words we can explain away any negative consequences and replace them with a feeling of comfort and self righteousness.
People are people. Humanity has not changed all that much in the last several millennia. Scripture even tells us this back in Genesis when God told Noah that every inclination of the human heart is evil from birth. It is the automatic response because of sin in the world. If we choose to ignore this fact, it is only natural that these two words will quickly become part of our vernacular.
In today's reading, the Lord posses a question to Ezekiel that shows where the hearts of his people are. They have become a people that use the words "It's only..." all too often. He asks this: "Is it a trivial matter for the house of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here?" The obvious answer is "NO" but to the people, thats all they see; a trivial matter.
Sin was not something they took seriously. Rebellion was seen as being the norm. Making sure that you were happy was of prime importance. Doing what seemed right to each of them as individuals was heralded as being truth. Does any of this sound familiar in our day and our culture?
We champion people doing what they feel they should do. We encourage people to chase the American dream and not God's dream for their life. The "rebel" or "bad boy/girl" is seen as cool and someone to be emulated. All in all we are often chasing the same things and all the while explaining it away with "It's only..."
So ask yourself, how often do you find yourself using this tiny little expression, "It's only...", and how often is it in regards to something that isn't necessarily a good thing. Are you using it to give yourself one more thing to hang as a reminder in life's closet that seemed good at the time but wasn't what God really wanted for your life?