09 Mar CONTAGIOUS!
“God wants us to become contagious . . . who will first catch his love and then urgently and infectiously offer it to all who are willing to consider it.” – Bill Hybels.
The contagious and infectious novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China in late 2019. This virus is so contagious that it has spread all over the world within a few months and has set off a global pandemic. Everyone fears being infected by the virus. The Government declared a lockdown and the Health Ministry announced social distancing rules; we should keep a distance of at least one meter between us.
This made me ponder on the word ‘contagious’. Is this virus alone contagious? No, there are so many things even more contagious than the virus. Your smile is contagious. Enthusiasm is contagious. Fear is contagious. Faith is contagious. Even our attitude is contagious.
To be contagious we first need to be infected:
The only person who can infect coronavirus is the one who is already infected. You cannot give someone what you do not have. Likewise, you cannot love someone unless the love is in you. ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ Luke 12:31. Love is contagious yet not everybody can give it to others. Only someone who has love can show love. Do you have the love of Christ? Do you love like Him?
To infect we need to be contacted:
The word ‘contagious’ comes from the Latin word -contagio “touching or contact.” Only through contact we get infected. The idea behind social distancing is to avoid contact with others to avoid infection. “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10 ESV). The Bible tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and to do good especially to the household of faith because they are in contact with us. It is very hard to do something good for people we do not know from unknown places. On one hand, this lockdown can be an opportunity for us to be with our family members and infect them with the good qualities in us. On the other hand, despite the lockdown and social distancing, we can still keep in contact (through social media) and infect our love, faith, and hope to others who are not with us physically. We cannot be contagious without being in contact.
Be aware of what you have transmitted:
Words are contagious. Fear is contagious. Attitude is contagious. We do not even realize how children pick up slang words, bad attitudes, and fear. They learn from us! If you dislike the qualities of the people around you, there is a very high chance that they are imitating you. It is likely that you infected them. We should be aware of whether our contagiousness is impacting others in positive or negative aspects.
What good qualities can we infect others with?
Without much effort, we can infect enthusiasm and optimism. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV). If you are a born-again Christian but always pessimistic, you have to check your relationship with God. A good Christian cannot afford to be always pessimistic, for God is Sovereign in everything. It is natural for human beings to be emotionally down when we are locked down and are less mobile. Yet, we can take this opportunity to pursue our passions, new skills, new hobbies, and infect our neighbors with our enthusiasm. We are so blessed to be in this century that anyone can learn as much or even more than those who are in university, through online programs. There are millions of free books available online, millions of videos on YouTube that can help us improve our knowledge and skills. There will be no excuse for us to offer to he next generation. if we do not use these opportunities. Likewise, if our Christian life doesn’t infect others with the love of Jesus Christ there will be no excuse for us to tell Jesus when we meet Him.
You are contagious. What are you infecting others with?
Lamminlun Haokip, staff worker of UESI Manipur, based in Chandel District.