Watch Out! It's Contagious!

Watch Out! It's Contagious!DanaRongione.com.jpg

The flu bug has hit HARD this year.  My hubby can't seem to get rid of the stuff.  Both of my parents are dreadfully ill.  My mother-in-law is sick.  Half my church is coughing, sneezing and sniffling.  And, as is the way with colds and flu, it's making its way around, spreading from one person to the next.  Yup, this nasty stuff is highly contagious, which is why I'm doing everything I can to protect myself.  I'm taking extra vitamins, diffusing essential oils and drinking herbal tea by the gallon.  I don't want to be sick!  I hate being sick!  Stay away, flu!  You're not welcome here.

But you know what else is contagious?  A bad attitude.  Oh yeah, negativity is just as (if not more) contagious than the flu.  It can affect everyone around, and once we're infected, it's nearly impossible to get rid of it.  Just ask Job.

After making a deal with the devil, God allowed Job to be tested through a multitude of trials.  At first, Job responded well, trusting that God had a reason for what He was doing.  But after his negative "friends" came for a visit, Job's attitude changed.  He began to curse the day he was born and to pray for death.  He accused God of being unfair and of despising him.  What caused such a drastic turn in Job's thinking?  The contagious negativity of those around him.

We see the same thing in Numbers 21:5, And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.  This sob story is nothing new in the story of the Wilderness Wanderings, but what you have to realize is that the characters in the story have changed.  The people complaining at this point were not the original children of Israel who were rescued from Egypt.  No, those people have died off as they wandered around in disbelief.  The ones murmuring here are their children.  But notice that their complaint is nearly word-for-word what their parents said (many times) all those years ago.  You know what that tells me?  That the children heard these complaints from their parents so many times that they had memorized them and adopted them as their own.  They had become infected with their parents' disbelief, discontentment, and ingratitude.

So, what do we do?  How can we avoid this deadly plague?  Well, first off, let's make sure we're not a carrier.  In other words, don't be the one spreading the negativity around.  Be happy.  Be content.  Be thankful.  Look on the bright side, and keep your complaints to yourself.  We are always influencing others by our words, attitudes and actions, so let's be sure we're a good influence and not a bad one.

As for not being infected by others, our first course of action would be to avoid those who have the "disease" whenever possible.  If we don't hang around with complainers, their attitude can't rub off on us.  However, that's not always possible.  Sometimes, we have to live or work with these people.  That's why it's important we do everything we can to protect ourselves from their influence.  We can strengthen our spiritual immune system by filling our hearts and minds with the Word of God and spending time with Him in prayer.  We can determine to set our hearts and minds on things above rather than dwelling on the things that aren't as "perfect" as we would like them to be.  With these habits firmly in place, we'll stand a much better chance of avoiding infection.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
— Philippians 2:14-15