Genesis 3:6, "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it".
Do you know one of the tragic realities of sin? IT INFLUENCES THOSE AROUND US. Sin is terribly contagious. It is more dangerous and rapidly spreads than AIDs virus. The Holy Bible often likened sin to yeast in bread which symbolizes the power of corruption. When Eve sinned, she also involved Adam in her sinful act. She didn’t sin without immediately influencing Adam. She got spoiled and also spoiled the one with her. Perhaps Eve had best intentions in sharing the fruit with Adam but what she did was a worst action in the sight of the Almighty God. To quote Irish poet Oscar Wilde (a great thinker who lived a pathetic life), “It is always with the best intentions that the worst work is done.”
What Eve did continues to this day. It is human disposition that when we do something sinful we will inevitably cause others to partake in it. He who yields to the temptation will also become a temptation to others. For example, the one who commits adultery will seduce the other person to take part in the act. People cannot gossip without a partner. Women cannot grumble without spreading the bitterness into others. Men cannot walk in falsity without misleading others. We cannot live a bad life without leaving bad steps for others to follow; at least few people will be influenced, especially the ones who are close to us, like family members and friends. And there is no part in our body which is as influential as our tongue. For this reason it is written, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Pro. 18:21).
Some may say, “I can sin in isolation, i.e. in my mind; what I think or imagine is confined to myself.” True, but our thoughts and imagination does impact our words and actions, eventually influencing others. We influence ourselves with our sight and thoughts and others with our words and actions. Never forget—SIN IN ME BREEDS SIN IN OTHERS. SIN GROWS IN ME AND MULTIPLIES IN OTHERS. AH, THE SIN THAT TAKES ROOT IN ME WILL NOT FAIL TO BEAR FRUIT IN OTHERS! Ravi Zacharias was right in saying, “Sin has a ripple effect. You will never ever sin alone because when you sin you are changed and when you are changed you will affect somebody else.”
Here is one of the deceptive statements by some – “I don’t live a good life and nor will I influence others with my sinful lifestyle.” Every person is a channel, either of good or bad. Remember, there is no neutrality when it comes to sin. We may (at times) sin in isolation but we cannot live a sinful lifestyle in isolation. I need to yet meet a person who sins without dragging others into sin. Moreover, we may not necessarily have to become preachers or teachers to cause impact on others. The way we live is far influential than the words we speak, and especially the impact of a sinful lifestyle spreads like wildfire. The Holy Scripture is replete with examples, teaching us that the affect of a sinful life is much easier and swift than holy life.
Dear brothers and sisters, what kind of life are we living? How are we influencing those around us? What is it that others are learning from us? Are we setting up a good model or a bad example to others? Let me make it plain—to continue to live deliberately in sin is to inevitably have devastating affect on others, whether intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or unconsciously. The Holy Bible has surplus examples and instructions about not being influenced by or influencing others with something bad. Here are some of them:
Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. (Lu. 17:1-2)
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. (Rom. 14:13)
Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? (1 Cor. 5:6)
Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." (1 Cor. 15:33)
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. (1 Cor. 8:9)
I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. (Rom. 16:17)
We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. (2 Cor. 6:3)
See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Heb. 12:15)
Application: The only way to evade bad influence upon others is to live a holy and loving life. May we be quick to recognize our sins, confess them to God and repent before we are tempted to pollute those around us.