Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy [Luke 12:1b (NLT)]
Being a doting grandmother, I baked chocolate chips cookies (with pecans) for the little grands. Since their last visit, however, one took a dislike to anything with chocolate or nuts. Although she tried, eating around them was impossible. Fortunately, the ice cream met with her approval so all was not lost.
I couldn’t help but think of the story of a thirteen-year old who tried to convince her parents that she should be allowed to see a certain R-rated movie. Assuring them there was only a little inappropriate material and promising she would take none of it to heart, the girl begged to be allowed to view it. After denying the request, her mother set to work baking cookies in the kitchen while the daughter pouted and sulked. A wonderful aroma filled the house and, when the cookies were baked, the mother asked her daughter if she’d like to taste a special new recipe. Although they’d been made with the usual items like flour, sugar, butter, chocolate chips, and vanilla, a special ingredient had been added. As the daughter reached for the tasty looking cookies, she inquired as to the identity of the new element. Her mother replied that she’d taken a small scoop of leavings from the cat’s litter box and mixed it into the batter. Since it was just a small scoop, it would hardly be noticeable; surely her daughter could ignore it. It was then that the girl understood why her mother had prohibited the movie! Like the yeast of the hypocritical Pharisees and the cat poop in the cookies, even a little bit of R was more than she should consume!
In the Bible, yeast is often used as a metaphor for a poisonous influence. It’s not just the Pharisees’ hypocrisy and false teachings of which we should beware; all bad attitudes and sinful behavior are capable of corrupting people around them. Even a little bit of bad—just a small amount of nastiness, corruption, arrogance, prejudice, hatred, deceit, or immorality—is like a little scoop of cat poop in a bowl of batter; it spreads throughout the ingredients and affects every cookie or person it touches.
As adult Christians, we consider ourselves wiser and more discerning than teenagers. We’d like to think we’re above the fray and able to withstand the negative influences of today’s world. Let’s not get over confident. Temptation is all around us and usually looks as delicious as a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. As my grand found out, it’s not easy to pick out the stuff we don’t want to consume and, as that teen discovered, sometimes the bad stuff isn’t so easily spotted!