I needed a few tomatoes to complete my salad. I opened the crisper drawer, in search of the container that held them. There it was beside the carrots, green onions and romaine lettuce. I opened the lid and reached in to pick out some tomatoes, when I noticed it. The skin of one of the red, fleshy, fruits was covered with white mold. As I gingerly picked it out of the carton, I realized that several of the surrounding tomatoes had also been affected. Ugh! After removing the rest of the moldy fruit, I was able to find enough good tomatoes to finish my salad.
As I ate my salad, I thought about the affect one thing has on another. When one of the tomatoes in the container got moldy, it didn't take long before all the surrounding tomatoes were growing their own cultures of the white, furry stuff. I was reminded of the old saying, "One bad apple spoils the bunch." Wow! If one piece of fruit can spoil the entire bunch, what kind of affect do we have on others?
Our attitudes and resulting actions have the potential to seriously affect others. Paul put it this way when he addressed the church in Corinth, "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavenead" (1 Corinthians 5:6b-7a; KJV). Leaven refers to the yeast that makes bread dough rise. Once you put yeast into the bread dough, all of the dough is affected. You can't expect one portion of the dough to rise, while the other remains flat.
Throughout the Bible, leaven represents sin. When there was sin in the body of believers at Corinth, it affected the entire body. No one was exempt. The same is true today. Sin is not something that affects only one person. When I chose to speak words that are unkind, more often than not, I offend someone and cause a wall to be erected in our relationship. My bad attitude can trigger a ripple effect that can have far reaching consequences in the lives of others.
When sin is tolerated rather than confronted, the 'rotting' process continues. Pretty soon, everyone in our sphere of influence is sporting a wardrobe plagued with unfashionable 'leaven.'
The solution? Putting off some old things and putting on some new things. "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Each one of us has a daily decision to make. What attitudes and actions will we put on? Those related to our old man, the ones filled with sin and deceit, or those found in the new man, the ones filled with the righteousness of Christ. What affect will we have on others today? Will we tear them down or build them up? The choice is ours. We should determine to clothe ourselves with the wardrobe of the new man and begin edifying others today!