Touch the keypad on the gas pump. Hold onto a rail going down stairs. Turn a doorknob. These simple everyday tasks now are accompanied with dread. Could I be contaminated?
We are afraid of our own human biology. Lysol and liquid soap are indispensable to cleanse and keep healthy. We are cautious about what touches us.
In Mark 7, Jesus addresses a group people who were preoccupied with washing their hands and cups but ignored washing their spiritual lives. Quoting the prophet Isaiah, he says
‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ (Mk 7:6–7, Isa 29:13).
While we worry about this current pandemic which threatens to kill millions, we take for granted a pandemic that already exists killing millions upon tens of millions every year.
The whole human race is infected with the disease of sin. The effects of this disease are real and costly. Sin is destructive and deadly ruining lives and killing people in its wake, but we live with it. Humanity makes all kinds of rules with the illusion that we can manage sin.
We see the effects of sin in poverty and famine, war and street violence, in disease and pandemics, in crime and corruption, in broken families and mentally ill people, and in unbelief and despair. Hardly an affliction in this life exists that cannot be said to be the result of sin contamination. Sadly, this contamination has affected every human being. We are all infected and polluted with sin. Jesus addresses each of directly about our infection.
Jesus went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mk 7:20–23)
While we deal with this COVID-19 infection, I pray we will recognize this greater infection. The amazing good news is that Jesus took on our infection. He came to embody our sin who had never known sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He bore in his body our affliction, took on the curse of this infection so we could be cured of sin (Isaiah 53:4-7). For this we give God all the praise and honor. As Christ has conquered sin, death and the devil he gives us new life.
Beloved, you have been uncontaminated! While we deal with the biological disease, let us rest assured and draw hope from Christ who has delivered us from our spiritual disease.
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22)
As we know Christ has conquered let us lift up our prayers in hope that God will deliver us from this global affliction.
“LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” ~ Isaiah 33:2
Sin did not cause my mental illness (PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc.) an elevator malfunction and subsequent injuries, ridicule and various forms of harassment , bullying and injustices, a multitude of losses, and my own choices did. Trying to hide it, to minimalize it, to ignore it for years on end all while trying to put on a happy face whenever in public has nearly killed me. Withdrawing to the confines and safety of my home has long been one of my coping tools… I was (and am) in prayer and meditation every single day, AT LEAST twice a day thanking God for loving me and asking for, oft times pleading for grace. I’ve not been left nor have I been let go of by God, ever. Now, I choose to avoid or at least minimize public contact as much as possible and it isn’t because of mental illness. Moreover it is because I have a tremendous amount of compassion towards my fellow human beings and as such, I feel that ignoring certain protocol for highly infectious diseases is, well, downright sinful. On that note, while obsessively washing our hands and disinfecting and sanitizing everything we touch and own may seem like a brilliant umbrella of protection, it is also a false one because by doing that constantly, and I specify constantly, helpful bacteria and flora are destroyed thus making our immune systems weaker and even more susceptible to illness and disease. It has been proven that to successfully stop a virus from spreading the avenues of transport must be eliminated or at least contained..This is best accomplished by everyone taking certain precautions,. By supporting self imposed isolations (with the exception being criticallly needed professionals) and by reasonable personal protection efforts by all, this pandemic can and will be brought under control. This is not the first time nor is it the last time for an event of this magnitude.This is one event, one worldwide event that has no prejudice towards race, creed, nor color. It is not an attack on the religious sector. Not an attack on any one country. Not manmade. Man caused perhaps, but not manmade.
We owe it to ourselves, our family, our friends, our neighbors, perfect strangers even to be mindful of our actions and to be respectful of each other. Our God is loving and kind. Our God has provided everything we have and everything we need. We can continue to honor our God by being in heartfelt prayer and meditation, by our thoughts, and by our actions. We can remain in fellowship with one another through the wonders of technology. We are not alone in this battle. We are not invincible.
Lets be part of the solution not part the problem. We can lift each other up with words of encouragement and hope and refrain from words of condemnation and guilt.
When we know better, we do better.
May God’s love rest in your heart and bring you peace.