I am a firm believer in the germ theory, which hypothesizes that some diseases are caused by microorganisms that, although are way too small to be seen with the naked eye, invade the body and cause big problems. Of course, while this theory was once highly controversial, it’s accepted as absolute fact now because of indisputable scientific proof backing it. We’ve all become well versed in germ names like Ebola, Influenza, and Streptococcal. These germs and others get into a body, multiply to the point they cause a disease, and then hope to get passed on to somebody new. That’s why it’s so important for us to keep our hands washed and be careful whom we are around. Otherwise, the disease-causing germs might spread until there’s an epidemic.
Maybe you’ve never thought about it this way, but there are some spiritual germs we should be wary of as well. There are too many to list, but some of the most pernicious are grumbling, negativity, and resentment. These three are nasty little attitudes that get into our spirit and wreak havoc. They will multiply in a person until the person becomes spiritually diseased, and then they become very contagious. When it spills over in a family or in a church, it can make life absolutely miserable for everybody. Of course, the devil loves it, but it grieves the Spirit.
Are you infected with grumbling, negativity, or resentment? Maybe these questions will help you decide. Are you quick to point out a grievance or complain about a shortfall? Do you look at others with a critical eye, ignoring the good things they are doing and focus on their weaknesses? Are you often found in a gripe session with others about how things are going? Do you tend to paint things in the worst-case scenario? Do you resent having to do the things you do—even the things you voluntarily do—and feel like nobody notices or cares?
I could go on and on, but that should be enough to begin to help you diagnose the presence of grumbling, negativity, or resentment in your life. If you think you are infected, get on your knees as quickly as possible in repentance and prayer to God. Ask the Lord to help you put off the sins of grumbling, negativity, and resentment and put on the right attitudes of optimism, hope, and joy. Make war through spiritual means against these spiritual germs so that you will become known for optimism, hope, and joy.
The good news is that just like their harmful counterparts, optimism, hope, and joy are contagious too. May you help start of an epidemic that builds up and encourages the body!