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Friday, October 3, 2014


Photo by: hyena reality

We could speak of awful diseases all over the world: ebola, the flu, HIV/AIDS, and MRSA—all highly contagious.

We could talk about contagious behaviors. Have you ever been in a theater, and one person coughs? Before you know it, people are coughing all over! Have you watched a person yawn, and then you had to yawn? Have you watched a baby belly laugh? It makes you laugh. Have your eyes filled with tears when you saw someone else cry?

Or, we could address contagious attitudes. The Bible says, Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15). This passage was written to Christians instructing them to empathize with others.

But, I’m talking about attitudes that affect others.

Let’s look at some of them:

Negativity—This is the woe-is-me, woe-to-you, everyone-is-against-us mentality. You ask a negative person, “How are you?” Be prepared! He will tell you all his aches, pains, troubles, the injustices against only him, and all the rest. He will go into great detail to tell you how bad off he is. The negative person always sees the dark side. He takes everything people say as criticism. He only spreads bad news. He is against everyone and thinks he’s being persecuted by everyone. Of all the people in the world, the negative person is the most difficult person to be around. A negative person is poison. His attitude quickly brings everyone around him down into the murky depths along with him.

Criticism—This caustic, critical attitude is way too contagious! The person infected with criticism is a gossip. He spreads the bad things he knows—or thinks he knows—to everyone about him. The critic’s sentences usually start with, “Have you heard?” or “Did you know?” followed by nasty, critical, ugly talk about a third party. The critic never gives anyone the benefit of the doubt. He’s the “authority” on every subject and the self-appointed critic of the world. His criticism of authority is especially contagious. (He despises the concept that anyone or any system should be higher than he.) He hates the government, the pastor, and the deacons. He pits himself against his neighbors and even his “friends.” The critic is an unpleasant person to be around, but people who happen to enjoy being with him end up becoming gossips, too. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. . . . But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:5-6, 8).

Bitterness—The bitter person believes he’s a victim. He lets his negative circumstances turn him into a sourpuss. He harbors feelings of revenge and hurt in his heart so that all he can see is his own lousy situation. The Bible warns against this attitude because it not only troubles the bitter person; it affects others, also. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled (Hebrews 12:15).

Contentiousness—The fighter wants to get others to respond. He actually enjoys riling people. He’s contentious and divisive. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? (1 Corinthians 3:3) The Apostle Paul knew that a person who wanted to cause problems between people in the church was very dangerous. His advice: avoid them. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them (Romans 16:17).

Joyfulness—This person is joyful because He abides in Christ. His joy is a heart joy. No matter what is happening around him, he rejoices in the Lord. He is not a silly vacant-brained person who doesn’t perceive his own problems, but when the problems come, he takes them to the Lord in prayer, leaves them with the Lord, and lives joyfully in spite of the challenges of life. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full (John 15:11). When a church is filled with joyful Christians, it is a joyful place. The people focus on their blessings and on answers to prayer. Their speech is filled with praise to God. They have smiles on their faces and are concerned about others. They understand how to bear . . . one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). They are caring, loving people. Joyfulness is not quite as contagious as negativity, but it’s easy to catch and is the virus you most want affecting your system.

So, what kind of a Christian do we want to be? Certainly not negative, critical, bitter, or contentious. We want to be known for our joyful spirit, sweet attitudes, contentment, and goodness. That’s the kind of contagion that’s good! Let's infect others with joyfulness!

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart
bringeth forth that which is good;
and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart
bringeth forth that which is evil:
for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh (Luke 6:45). 

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