day 154: One Bad Apple

I can date myself and tell you that I remember the Osmond Brothers song, “One Bad Apple”. The catchy hook was, “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch, girl…” Whether it be a song or an old adage, the truth is there, one bad apple can spoil a whole bunch or a whole barrel if it is allowed to rot and fester. At work we see and hear “bad apples” all the time. I am not just referencing specific people, although we know who they are too, I am also referencing the “bad apples” that we leave around with half-truths, mean-spirited words, manipulation of a situation or person, or even passive aggressive behavior that leaves other people not understanding the whole situation. The question to be asked is what are we supposed to do about these things when we see or hear them? Are we to turn our eyes and ears in the opposite direction and allow them to continue at the expense of others or ourselves? Or are we to stand up for the truth and reveal the untruths? It seems an easy answer; that we should always be like the super-hero and stand up in defense of the truth. But as we all know, it’s not that easy. At work there are long-standing norms and practices that we have to consider along with accepted behavior and relationships. However, I think we all know when it is time to take a stand. We know this because that voice inside of us says, “this is wrong and you need to fix it”. When that voice speaks then we should listen. Paul sends this same message to the church in Galatia. He speaks to them about those who bring too much legalism and distort the truth with their rules and practices. He says, that these practices must be removed. He doesn’t use the “bad apple” metaphor but something much more relevant of their time; “But it takes only one wrong person among you to infect all of the others – a little yeast spreads quickly through the whole batch of dough”. The verses goes on to say that God will judge that person as well. But for us, when we hear that untruth being spread, or that harsh word being levied on the undeserving, or that hurtful gossip being spread then we have our choice to either step forward and stop it or to allow ourselves to let the yeast pass through us to the next person and keep the infection going. I believe God gives us strength in these situations when we stand up for what is right. He looks to us to be the tent poles and beacons for truth and what is right and when we make that stand He will support us. Today, like it or not, you will be faced with one of these “bad apples” being passed your way. It might be small and you may not even notice it the first time, but when you do, don’t pass it on. Pick it up, throw it out and make the stand. Others will be thankful and they will notice and maybe you will get the chance to tell them why you took the stand.

Reference: Galatians 5:9 (New Living Testament)