The Bad Apple Effect
10/6/2016

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 1 Cor. 15:33 (NKJV)

Have you every 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 principle to be true in the lives of people. 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 the forbidden fruit. 

I have seen one worker within a group of workers contaminate and ruin the entire moral of the whole group by their cynicism, sarcasm and poor attitude. I have seen many families destroyed over one family member who cannot seem to stop talking negatively about the others. And its not just what comes out of a person’s mouth that causes defilement – it’s the negative attitude and countenance that accompanies a bad heart.  We’ve all experienced those people who come into work with a prune face day-after-day—it’s like they just can’t seem to find joy in life, and if they do, it is short lived and found in the happiness associated with temporary pleasures. 

The fact of the matter is this; negative people — those living in sin — affect every person around them. Corrupt attitudes and actions can happen anywhere and at anytime, and they can affect anyone who is not prepared to deal with them properly. Some people are bad apples through and through, and they will not change unless Jesus gets a hold of their heart and heals them. We need to be a light to them, but we also need to guard ourselves from allowing the enemy to corrupt us through the evil they practice (1 Cor. 15:33).

If we find a fellow brother sinning in one of these ways, we need to be willing to speak into his or her life, and be willing to pray for them. 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. It is important for us to seek the Lord for His wisdom, and then confront them in love (Gal. 6:1). 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-eng´-kho; It means to admonish, convict, convince, or to tell a fault – to reprove. We are told to use God’s Word to do this, as it is the authority by which we speak into the lives of others (2 Tim. 3:16-17). 

Let’s remember, we can easily have a bad apple effect on others as well, so let’s be committed to making sure our hearts and minds are on our Lord. Let’s let our attitudes and actions be loving and others-centered.

STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures contained within this devotional, what can we learn about the effects of evil upon those around it?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Can you see where evil company has corrupted you in your Christian walk?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Be mindful of the bad apples in your life, and be committed to witnessing to those who do not know the Lord. Be equally committed to confronting, encouraging, exhorting and praying for those who are fellow believers.

MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY: 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