Beware of Infections

Infections and infectious diseases can be a source of great worry and concern for those who suffer from them. We have recently had Aids and the Ebola crisis; there is bird flu, blood poisoning, chicken pox, scarlet fever, cholera, glandular fever, measles, malaria, salmonella, shingles, whooping cough and a whole range of other infectious diseases, a list of which could probably fill a book.

We try not to become infectious in the first place by avoiding contact with those who have anything that is contagious, and those who have such health problems should stay away from others. This is not only an act of kindness but is the way that true Christians should behave; that of esteeming others better or more important than self, and that of caring for others.

For many years, the Church has issued instructions about this matter in respect of attendance at the Feast of Tabernacles along the following lines:

“Elders will be available at all times during the Feast. However, if you think that you have a contagious illness, please do not come to services or to the Festival Desk to be anointed. Likewise, please do not bring children with contagious illnesses to services, to the Festival Desk or to any of the activities.” Of course, this also applies to the weekly Sabbath and other Holy Days.

Avoidance of infection should always be our aim, and we do have a Q&A on the quarantine principle.

If we are infected and have a health issue, we are admonished to call for the elders in the Church for anointing (see James 5:13-14). This is what we should do in such circumstances as outlined above, but what about this matter in a spiritual context?

Satan, the god of this world (see 2 Corinthians 4:4), wants to infect us with as many of the works of the flesh as possible (see Galatians 5:19-21), and he does this in many ways. Often, he can work through others to cause as many problems as possible to those called by God. This is a much greater threat to us than physical infection because the consequences can be much more serious!

For example, someone with a wrong spirit who may have taken issue with a member, a minister or a particular Church teaching can cause serious problems with those whom he/she knows or attends Church. We understand that tares will grow with the wheat (see Matthew 13:24-30), and they will often grow together until the harvest when a reckoning will take place, and so we shouldn’t be too surprised when someone from amongst us tries to cause problems.

The key to this situation is to look at the fruits of the ones causing the problems. Are they taking their concerns only to the ministry (if applicable), or are they trying to resolve any issues with brethren quietly and discreetly, as Matthew 18:15-17 instructs? If so, then other brethren may not be aware of any such concerns; however, if the person concerned is spewing bile out at all and sundry, then the fruits are not good and some, or many, may be “infected.”

Human nature, being what it is, can push us to get involved and to take sides. Spiritual infection can spread and this can be unfortunate where others may be involved. The apostle Paul faced problems in the Corinthian Church where he writes about envy, strife and division (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).

Satan causes division (Revelation 12:10), and we must not adopt any such attitude that is not a Godly one. One writer observed: “Anyone versed in military tactics knows the maxim ‘divide and conquer.’ If you can get your enemies to break ranks, turn on themselves and fight each other, you can quickly rout them”— and this is a tactic used successfully by our adversary.

If accusation, division, antagonism and animosity are the results of anyone’s actions, then you can be assured that this is not of God, and we must avoid being infected by anyone acting in such a manner. Irrespective of our relationship with that person, God and His way must always come first. Taking sides with someone with a rebellious attitude, even if they are very closely related to us, is asking for trouble.

We must always remember that there have been difficulties in the Church down through the ages, and a falling away from the truth has happened many times. We experienced that in the 1990’s, and since that time, and we must remember that Matthew 24:12 clearly spells out conditions at the end of this age: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” We have been warned, and being on our guard against rogue elements will stand us in good stead.

Ephesians 2:10 states: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Good works do not include rebellion, accusation, division and an angry spirit.

We should be developing holy righteous character, as Romans 12:1-2 states: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

When we are approached by someone with a “grievance” or different mindset, we must always look at the fruits! If the person is suffering from a contagious spiritual disease, we must avoid contact and make sure that we do not become infected.

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