Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.1 Corinthians 3: 16-17
Several years ago a friend asked me to read Making Ripples, a book by Mike Breaux. While I am unable to quote the book, the basic premise is that our actions affect others. We never go it alone.
Our lives touch others around us. We can make a positive impact or a negative one – most of us have done both at one time or another, but in the passage above Paul is concerned about those who would do harm to the church.
When I saw the word “you” in the verses above, I first thought the term was singular. But, after reading a couple of commentaries on the passage, it is clear that the meaning of you above is intended to be plural. In this case, the “you” is the whole of the church, particularly the local followers of Christ.
Still, the whole is made up of a group of individuals and since Paul expects positive ripples as we follow Christ, here he is warning of the negative impact on the church.
The actions of the individual do influence the community. I can think of a couple of heartbreaking instances right now that have destroyed individual lives, the lives of family and friends, and the local church.
Not one of us is perfect. We’ve made our share of bad decisions that haven’t honored God, but each of us can go forward with our lives and touch others with lives that honor Christ as we follow Him.