Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Putting poison into the public reservoir

"No one can keep the consequences of any evil to himself. They seep through his individual life, and run out into the community. When the Scripture says, "Be sure your sin will find you out," it does not mean "will be found out." It means what it says, "will find you out," track you down, spoil your character, destroy your happiness, ruin your influence; and because it does that, it will find your friends out, will tend to pull them down with you, will surely make goodness harder for them, and within your family circle will roll upon those who love you a burden of vicarious suffering.

If one could sin privately, he might allow himself the ignoble self-indulgence. But he cannot. Somebody else always is involved. The whole world is involved, for the man has deprived the world of a good life and given it a bad life instead. Sinning, even in its most private forms, is putting poison into the public reservoir, and sooner or later everybody is the worse for the pollution."

Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Meaning of Prayer, pg. 175-176 [X-c]

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