Wednesday, July 11, 2018

"One Bad Apple"

1st Corinthians 5.6-7, 11 NASU

“Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. 

“...I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler...

According to the writer Paul,  “one bad apple spoils the barrel.”  Be careful with whom you associate. Sin is infectious. Even “a little leaven leavens the whole lump!” You may think it does not matter whom you choose as a friend, but that’s not true...

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.”
Psalm 1.1 NIV

We tend to overestimate our innate goodness. We minimize our propensity toward self-centeredness. Most people think of themselves as “a good person” in direct contrast to what God’s Word teaches:

“Don't imagine yourself to be quite presentable
when you haven't had a bath in weeks.
Prov 30:12 The Message

“There is none righteous, not even one...
There is not who does good, there is not even one.”
Romans 3.10b; 12b NAS

“...all our righteous acts are like filthy rags
Isaiah 64.6 NIV

Besides our own innate goodness, we also tend to overestimate the goodness of others or our ability to positively influence those we deem good-less. Unfortunately, moral influence normally follows the path of lower, not higher, values. We who thought of ourselves as good people move imperceptibly toward the lesser standards of those with whom we associate. It happens slowly and unintentionally. 

“Be very circumspect in the choice of thy company. In the society of thine equals thou shalt enjoy more pleasure; in the society of thy superiors thou shalt find more profit. To be the best in the company is the way to grow worse; the best means to grow better is to be the worst there.” [1]

How did we get to where we are? It was the company we kept.

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”
1st Corinthians 15.33 NAS


[1] Unsourced quote from Francis Quarles, 17th Century English poet.

The funny image at the top of this post is entitled "One bad apple..." and used by permission of English photographer Linda Scannell whose work you can view at

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