The 5-Second Rule Doesn’t Work For Sin


time-731110_1920I once saw a meme about the five-second rule. There was a picture of pizza on the ground, and the caption was a conversation that went something like this:

Germs: Look, pizza! We must attack!

Germ King: No, we must wait five seconds. It’s the rule.

Like . . . yeah. That makes total sense. When you stop to think about it, it makes me wonder where the rule came from anyway. Not that I don’t apply it rather frequently. In fact, my decision today to take supplements that had fallen all over the car — and my subsequent pondering regarding how we use the five-second rule to rationalize — was what inspired this post.

You see, what you decide about the five-second rule and food is up to you. It really isn’t that important. But there is a problem when we apply to five-second rule ethics to other areas of life besides food.

Like sin.

Our sinful nature is a master at rationalizing and compromising.

“It’s only one lie.”

“It’s only one time.”

“It wasn’t for very long.”

Technically, I didn’t do anything wrong.”

It’s only “five seconds.” But the thing is, a lot can happen in those “five seconds” (whatever it is you’re rationalizing). Just because it isn’t very much, or long, or often doesn’t mean it isn’t sin. Plus, technicalities or one lie or one time tend to expand and morph with each recurrence “Just five seconds” turns into ten seconds. Which turns into thirty seconds. Which turns into a minute. Until you’re on the floor with the dog, eating anything someone will throw on the floor for you, no matter what. (Okay, keep in mind I’m speaking metaphorically . . . I hope the actual five-second rule wouldn’t lead you quite that far. 😉 )

Compromise is a good thing. But not when it comes to sin. 1 Peter 1:13-16 (NIV) says, “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Holiness is so important for every Christian. Without it, no one will see God (see Hebrews 12:14). And without Jesus, we cannot be perfectly holy. Holiness is something to be guarded, not rationalized away from. Most people don’t make the conscious choice to be habitual liars or kleptomaniacs or what have you. It just . . .  “happens.” By conforming. By small choices one after another leading to huge life changes. So strive to not be tempted by the five-second philosophy when it comes to sin. Be aware of your own sinful nature and tendency towards certain unhealthy compromises or rationalization. Go to Jesus for the fulfillment of the desires of your heart, and turn to Him for holiness. He’ll help you.

In Christ,



Hello, my name is Sara! I’m seventeen years old, I am a black-mold fighter, and I like to read, write, act, make jewelry, and have adventures. Most of which tend to be with my family whether it’s a long hike up a mountain or a fun new board game. I also write for Th!nk magazine, a free, online, Christian magazine: One of my favorite Scriptures is Psalm 34:5: “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

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