We have a lot of infections in this world.
Isnt it crazy to think about how quickly infection spreads?
Often unknowingly, the host of the infection spreads it quickly to others.
You know one key to preventing the spread of an infection?
Knowing when you are infectious…
Lots of patients seem to infect others when they have a lack of self awareness..
This is something I have been working on lately..
My infection of ignorance was growing because of my lack of self-awareness.
I believe a lot of other Christians are infected with this same disease..and are infecting others quickly.
Usually patients like to educate themselves on their infections by doing research. Education on my infection can be found in:
Luke 19: 9-14
“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
I was infected with ignorance and I was feeding my infection by being judgmental and comparing myself to others.
After I read this bible verse, I realized my infection and have been treating it. I realized a few months ago, I was the Pharisee.
You see, its really easy to compare yourself to someone else who is living, in your opinion, the wrong way and instantly feel good about the way you are living and dismiss any thoughts of changing or justify your current actions.
This is what I was doing every time my mom told me to make a change. Like come to church with her…
Unfortunately during her time on earth, I wasn’t ready for change. I wasn’t ready to treat my infection. I would throw her excuses like:
“I’m a good person, I mean look at so and so, at least im not like them, you should be thankful.. I don’t need church mom”
“Look, I know what I believe, I’m good. I dont need lectured or taught, just stop.”
“I’m busy.I have bills to pay”( I was living in my own apartment and the kind of
broke where I was living off cheetos , ramen noodles and cheap taco nights).
“I’m in school. Waitressing, drill. I ain’t got time for church.. Besides, when Im older, ill settle down and turn my life around. Just let me live.”
“I’m tired, I work so much, sorry I am such a bad person because I want to sleep in on Sunday’s.”
“Mom no, they judge me, and they are a bunch of hypocrites.”
“I just get nothing from the sermons.”
The list could go on.. You think it, I probably said it.. You know why? My heart was closed. I was running away from God, and since God is a loving God, who gave me free will, he let me go.
“Claiming to be wise they became fools. and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in their lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the creator.”
You see, God, being a loving God, gave me free will and choice. He wasn’t going to force me to love Him or live for Him, He was going to let me live the way I wanted. So for a while He let me run away from Him and try things on my own. Even fall on my face countless times..But at the end of the day no one was going to make the choice and change that but me.
I believe this is where another infection is occurring.. An infection of judgment due to misunderstanding..
In my case, no one was going to change my behavior but ME. Until I opened my eyes..Yes people told me things I needed to hear and pointed me in the right direction, but I didn’t need to be condemned by someone..
Yes I realize it is our job to teach the bible and let others know the truth, I am in no way dismissing this duty. But I think we are quick to forget about free will..Is it our job to condemn them if they don’t accept it? I don’t think so..We plant seeds in minds, but its God who converts or let’s people turn away from Him, its up to that individual as well..I think we are forgetting that part.
Just like when a doctor diagnoses a patient with an infection, that doctor does not force the pills down the patient’s throat. Sure its that doctors duty to tell the patient what will happen if they don’t treat their illness.. But it is ultimately up to that patient to take their medicine to get better.
Sometimes all a patient really needs is love and support to spark some compliance.
My mom understood this. She taught me with her life style, gave me little reminders, but at the end of the day, the most important thing she did was love me and support me, even when I made bad decisions. She hated the sin, but loved the sinner. She was there to pick me up when I failed…and never once said “I told you so.” When she constantly nagged me about getting my butt to church, she was planting seeds of change in my head. But she was also planting seeds by the way she was living. She was preaching with her life, and leading by example. Keeping watch on her own infection..
She loved me despite of my lifestyle, mistakes, and choices and gently pointed me into the right direction when I needed it.
She genuinely loved life and it reflected in the things she did.. She was the type of Christian I want to be.
I wonder what would happened if we all started treating each other like this? Infecting each other with support and love..Treating ignorance with love and gently guiding in the right direction, not condemning. More importantly, treating our own infections before trying to treat someone else’s..
I realized I was also infected with stubbornness. I turned my back on God a lot because I’m human and we are selfish sometimes..
But then He gave me another chance. A chance to treat my infections..I was blessed with losing my mother. I say blessed because this loss woke me up and opened my eyes to the way I was living. It slapped me back into reality. My biggest nightmare came true. And I was vulnerable. But this time I chose to seek Him.. Losing her woke me up to the words she constantly told me and the actions she demonstrated throughout my life. She always said, “one day you’ll understand.” Losing her softened my heart and humbled me, and all the lessons began to make sense.
Holding my moms hand while her heart rate slowly decreased, her skin became cool, and finally, the look in her eyes as I watched the life leave her body was a huge lesson and reminder that death is real. Death happens, in the blink of an eye. No matter how hard we try to run or ignore from it, at some point it will find us.
When I told my mom I would attend church and turn my life around when I was older, I failed to remember that tomorrow is never promised. This was a symptom of ignorance.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
A lot of us are infected with ignorance… But we ignore the symptoms..We live our lives like tomorrow is a guarantee. But to me living that way became scary.
*On a side note, For those of you who think I use too many bible verses in my posts (ive been told this multiple times) My question to you is why not? I am a person of fact, when I believe something and apply it to my life, I want to know I am believing it based off of scripture, not just someone’s opinion.. so I will back up things I say and the way I live with scripture until the day I die.
Anyways, look, I understand that sitting in church doesn’t make you a Christian. I know, because I was sitting in church before and definitely was not a Christian. It’s just like walking into a hospital won’t make me a doctor..
But I realized church is where needed to go to treat my infections.. They needed to be treated with encouragement and knowledge. This means meeting when the rest of my brothers and sisters were meeting.. and learning from them, making sure I was on the proper treatment plan.
I needed encouragement and reminders that I am not alone.
“not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
I also came to understand that Sunday services weren’t about me. They weren’t about just making me feel good. They are about worshiping God.. and learning what to change about myself to ensure I am living in a way that He knows me.. To ensure I am a new creature in Christ. Following the gospel.
“But why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Lk 6:46)
I was missing Wednesday night bible studies for various reasons.. Mostly excuses, and my priorities were out of whack.. I was caught up in worldly things…But I realized I was only hurting myself by losing chances to learn something new to apply to my treatment plan..
I also failed to realize:
James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Everything that was going good for me was a blessing. Yet I was claiming to be too busy for the one who was blessing me with these things..
Bible study also helps me treat my pessimistic symptoms and turn them into positive symptoms. The positive symptoms have caused me to have an infectious attitude, and that is what I want to spread to others.
When I have people tell me that I am a role model, it reminds to me that I need to not just be a hearer of the word, but a doer as well..
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
If I am calling myself a Christian, I am claiming to be a follower of Christ. This means I need to be infecting people with the correct knowledge and attitude.
What I had failed to do before was look in the mirror. I was failing to treat my own infection.. My diagnosis started with questions like: What was making me different by just having faith and not actions? What did I even believe in? Are my actions demonstrating that I am a true Christian? Am I too busy comparing myself to others to see the changes I need to make? Am I giving my best?
I was guilty of failing to answer all of these. I would constantly say and think, “The church is filled with hypocrites, I don’t want to be around all that..” Well, yes it is, and Im one of them. But you don’t stop going to the gym because there are fat people, in the same way, you don’t stop going to church because there are people working on their flaws. We are all human. Every day there is something new to learn and apply, but we are trying and sometimes fail. I think this is why we are seen as hypocrites.
My final infection: complacency.
Back to the example of the tax collector and Pharisee for example.. Had I not read this passage, I would not have had the realization that I was acting like the Pharisee.
When they were praying: The Pharisee was looking down on the sinner to make himself feel better..I did this..
“Well thank goodness I’m not like that person.” But I was no better…I wasnt humble, and I definitely was living the way I should have been, but I was blind to it because I was comparing myself to others.
Sure Im not a rapist or murderer.. But I was complacent, and not doing anything either.. I was hearing the word, but not doing it and sin is sin..
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
So I am just as guilty as anyone else. Who am I to judge someone who is sinning differently than me?
Every time someone would ask me if I wanted to study I would always say, “Im fine, I know what I believe, I know where Im going.”
But did I? No.. I didn’t study, I hardly knew anything in the bible..I was just going off of my feelings.. But ever since I read
2 Timothy 2:15
“study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
I realized I needed to treat my symptom of complacency before I infected more people with ignorance.
I needed to know the truth, how to study the bible, in the right context. Its kind of like if I tried to read someone’s diary from pearl harbor, without knowing the setting or context. How would I be able to understand what they were saying?
2 Corinthians 13:5
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?”
I heard once to look at your life as if you were on trial for being a Christian. Would there be enough evidence to convict you?
My answer: in the past? no way.. But that evidence is growing every day.
If however the time comes and I fail this test, no one can answer for my actions but me, and that’s what scares me the most. I cant place blame on other people for the way I live. I cant make myself feel better about my actions by comparing myself to others. I will never be able to say, “no one told me.” When the time comes, it will be my responsibility to answer for my actions.
This life is my test and I intend on passing it.
Just like any test, I need to study and use application. When I fail, I need to try again. When I failed a test in nursing school, blaming the teacher never worked. I had to look to my study habits and figure out what I need to change. The same goes for living a Christian life..
I feel as though we infect each other with loneliness when we try and act perfect all the time and never admit our mistakes. I have so much respect for people that tell me when they messed up so I can learn from their mess-ups or help them through theirs. I think that’s why God gave us each other, for support, a little reminder that we are not alone.. And for encouragement, and a gentle nudge back in the right direction sometimes..
Perhaps if we were all more worried about developing Christ like behavior within ourselves, and ensuring that we are living by the word, rightfully dividing the truth, it will allow us to inspire others to do the same.
Sometimes learning about and treating a certain infection can lead to prevention in someone else.
Perhaps if we learn about our own infections, and treat them, we can let others know what has worked for us, and instead of judging them for theirs, we can help treat and prevent further infections.
Infections spread easy..Take positive attitudes for example: all it takes is one smile, one encouraging word, one motivational speech to change the attitude of an entire group. Christians should be known for their positive attitudes, if you don’t have one, please join me and treat your infection before you spread it.