Today’s Scripture: Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? IĀ CorinthiansĀ 5:6

There is a biblical truth which states that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. This adage perfectly illustrates what happens when members of the congregation who have left still try to have contact with those who are staying faithful. They are like leaven, that if allowed into the “lump”, will spread disunity throughout the entire body. God’s Word instructs us to keep those people out so this will not occur.

This raises some questions in the minds of believers: Does that mean we forgive some people and not others? Is the Bible contradicting itself? What happened to forgiving seventy times seven? In Romans 16:17, the apostle Paul said mark them that cause divisions and avoid them. This verse shows us we need to protect truth over everything else and take action to avoid corrupting the church with negativity. However, nowhere does it say we should not forgive them. Forgiving what they have done does not mean we are to associate with them if they are not willing to come before the church, make things right, and abandon their disruptive behavior.

I know from experience that those who have left my church try to spread discontentment by saying I’m too strict. I would love for those people to come back and be satisfied within our congregation and school, but I know that if I caved, we would be like so many other ministries that are on a downward spiral. The Christian churches and schools that allow their staff to social drink, smoke, and gamble are 1% away from being like any other public establishment. Honestly, the hardest thing I have ever had to do is keep the church and school pure. I forgive people that leave, but I don’t want them to come back and corrupt those that remain. One example in Scripture of a man of God warning others about someone who was “leavening the whole lump” is Paul. When Paul said that Alexander the copper smith had done him much damage, he was warning others about the way Alexander had decided to behave. We cannot have people causing discord among the brethren. It is far too dangerous because of how many people they can take away with them.

Believer, know that there will be those in your family who will press hard against you for the stands you have decided to take. There will be others who harass you at work. You are to show them God’s love and not ignore them. On the other hand, there will be believers who will leave the church and try to drag you down with them; those are the ones you are to mark and stay far from. There is a difference between the two, although you are still supposed to love and forgive both. To forgive or not to forgive is not the question. The question is: Will you choose to discern the difference between those who need love and those who are leavening the whole lump?

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder