My Kindergarten Chicken
A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Galatians 5:9
When I was in kindergarten, we had an art teacher who came into our class just for that hour each week. He wasn’t our daily teacher, and I don’t have fond memories of him – mainly because he didn’t like me much. One day, as we were making construction paper chickens during art class, I stood up on my chair and crowed like a rooster. Apparently, this was an unwelcome distraction, because, before I knew it, I was picked up by one arm, swatted on the butt, carried across the room, and sat in a corner.
I felt like that event marked me as a troublemaker and that the art teacher had it in for me after that. This seemed grossly unfair. In my mind, I was a good kid who didn’t regularly cause disruptions. We were, after all, making chickens that fateful day. What did he expect? Roosters crow. It seemed to me like that one insignificant event unfairly tainted our relationship forever.
For better or worse, this is often the way it is in life. We can live what we believe to be good, quiet lives, never really doing anything too crazy, and then become known for just one failure, which everyone sees. We may think it’s unfair, but evil is like that. It takes just one little indiscretion to poison everything.
This was Paul’s warning in today’s passage. In it, he asked the Galatians who taught them to follow their own path to salvation, instead of relying on faith in Christ. Though it was just one little doctrinal issue, it spread among the church, corrupting the congregation. Though they’d come so far, this one little lie threatened to undo everything.
This is a warning to us. Daily, we must guard ourselves, even against small corruptions. We may live what appears to be good lives and we may tell ourselves that our small indiscretions are no big deal – until they’re exposed. Then, everyone sees, and we become known for that one thing. We may think this is unfair, and we may object to modern cancel culture, but this isn’t new. A little evil poisons everything.
For me, I must daily work on my recovery, never going back to just one little drink or pill. Daily I need to guard my tongue, avoiding speaking evil of others or making crude jokes at work. I must watch my words and actions, recognizing that others notice. I want to follow God and I desire to point others to him. When I allow even just a little evil in, it poisons everything.