Trust and Betrayal
Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 1 Corinthians 5:6
The addict, in his addictive behavior, often betrays the trust of those around him. He might understand this, but then, when he gets sober, he often expects that trust to be restored immediately. I’m recovered now. Why don’t you trust me?
I felt that way when I got out of treatment. I knew I was on a new path and so, I wanted life to go back to normal. I wanted my family and career back. A few weeks of sobriety, however, doesn’t undo 15 years of addictive behavior. This frustrated me. I felt I’d lived a pretty good life, doing a lot of good things. There was just this one little area that I struggled with and I felt it wasn’t fair to hold that against me now that I was sober.
The problem was that one little thing had poisoned the rest of my life. In my mind, it was compartmentalized. In my mind, I was a really good guy who just made a few mistakes. Though that may have been partially true, the reality was, those mistakes corrupted everything.
This is the principle that Paul taught in today’s passage. In it, he told the Corinthian church that just like a tiny amount of leaven (yeast) has a profound effect on a large amount of dough, so too, one single tolerated sin can bring down a person or an entire organization. A man can be known for a lifetime of good works, but when it comes out that he’s indulged in sexually inappropriate relationships, everything he’s ever done becomes contaminated.
Paul’s words weren’t specifically about trust, but they have profound application to the betrayal of my addiction. I may have lived a pretty good life, but the lying and hiding of my drug use ruined it all. Trust is lost in buckets and earned back in drops. I may not think it fair, but one failure can undo a tremendous amount of good.
The question for us is, what thing do we tolerate or hide, that, if exposed, would wreak havoc on the rest of our lives? What dark behavior do we justify and conceal? Do we maintain inappropriate relationships or visit websites that would destroy the trust of our spouses if discovered? Even if they never find out, that secret evil corrupts our faith life. We cannot walk with God while poisoning our relationship with him, even if we can keep it a secret from everyone else. If we’re hiding it, it needs to go.