One Bad Apple

One Bad Apple
How One Person Affects Another

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; Hebrews 12:14-15 (NKJV)

Have you ever heard the phrase, "One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch?"  The truth of it is as precise as its claim, as one bruised apple can adversely affect the rest of the apples around it.  When an apple becomes bad by being bruised or spoiled, it begins to generate ethylene gas.  Once this begins, it quickly spreads to the other otherwise healthy apples and it will then infect them causing catastrophic damage to the whole group.

I find the same thing with a bad person.  They too, can affect the group of people around them in much the same way as an infected apple.  Jesus spoke on this as well.

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. Matthew 15:18 (NKJV)

How many times have we seen people who are hurt - whose egos and hearts are bruised - how they have affected others because of what comes out of their mouths?  It is a sin of epidemic proportion and it has been around since Eve first partook of - you guessed it - the apple.  

I have seen one worker within a group of workers contaminate and ruin the morale of the whole group by their cynicism and sarcasm.  I have seen many a family destroyed over one family member who cannot seem to stop talking negatively about the others. And it's not just what comes out of a person's mouth that causes defilement - it's their negative attitude and countenance.  It's the person who comes into work with a prune face 9 out of ten days.  They just can't seem to find joy in life, and if they do, it is short lived and found in temporary pleasures.  

The fact of the matter is this; bad apples affect every one of us.  It can happen anywhere and at anytime, and it can affect anyone who is not prepared to deal with it properly. We cannot simply ignore them.  Yes, love covers a multitude of sins, and even bears all things (1 Cor 13), but for those who are continually emitting these volatile emotions and actions, to ignore them or their actions is anything but love.

Some people are bad apples through and through, and they will not change unless Jesus gets a hold of their heart and heals them.  Others have already given their life to Jesus but have allowed the enemy to tempt them through other people and situations, which have now affected their attitude.  If this is the case, Jesus can remove the bad portion and they can be restored to be a healthy, joyful, loving Christian.  

If you find a fellow brother sinning in one of these ways, be willing to speak into his or her life.  Confront them in love and remind them to turn to God in prayer.  Remind them of what the Scriptures say about counting it all joy when they face various trials (James 1:2-4), and be willing to pray for them.  Encourage them to count their blessings and to take their eyes off of their worldly desires and to put them back on Jesus.  If they continue to be destructive in their actions and are causing others to stumble, then rebuke them.  We do this because we truly love them and we care for them.  We can see Jesus speaking of this.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:19 (NKJV)

Q:    What does it mean to rebuke someone?

The word, Rebuke used here is translated from the Greek word, elegcho, el-engĀ“-kho; It means to admonish, convict, convince, or to tell a fault - to reprove.  

We should use God's Word to do this, as it is the authority by which we speak into the lives of others.  

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)

Hey Christian, I want to encourage you today to be willing to pray for others who are bruised and who are affecting others with their poor attitudes.  Be willing to speak into their lives.  We must remember a poor attitude is sinful, and it is a poor witness and testimony of being a joyful loving Christian.  Remember to pray before you speak, and to speak in love.  You may be persecuted for it, but it is the correct way to deal with it.  Once you have rebuked your brother, and if he repents, forgive him (See Luke 17:3).

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn from the Scriptures contained within this devotional with regard to our confronting others who are sinning?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you know of other believers who have a poor attitude and who are affecting other believers with their attitudes, actions, or hurtful and slanderous words?

APPLICATION: Be willing to confront them and to encourage them, and to pray for them.  If they do not repent and continue to do harmful things then follow Matthew 18:15-20.  If this does not correct the problem, then follow Rom. 16:17, and Titus 3:10-11.  If they repent, then forgive them immediately.

Father, Thank You for Your Word, and for Your guidance in all things.  Thank You for Your love and Your willingness to rebuke me when I am wrong.  Father, help me to be bold in confronting sin when I see it, and to be willing to rebuke fellow believers in love.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000