This week on my facebook account I\’ve been sent, more than once, a virus in the form of a video. I didn\’t open it, for it had a suspicious quality to it–the subject line didn\’t \’sound\’ like the sender\’s voice. The language and lingo used just didn\’t jive with these friends\’ communication styles.
\”Delete, delete\” was my response and I\’m grateful I did, for later I heard the video is a virus–a virus that is still circulating, for I received it again today (third time).
What if I would have opened it? Like a killer sneeze without a sleeve, the virus sends the video to one\’s friends\’ inboxes for them to open and also sends the video to friends of friends, so people can get it from someone they only have an indirect facebook relationship with. Then I hear that it gives the impression your facebook friends are sending you nasty messages when they are not. The virus generates the unsavory correspondence instead.
What could the consequences of all this be? Well, it seems a no brainer, really: it could create misunderstanding, hurt feelings, anger, distance, etc. between avowed friends. The lie could be believed and broken relationships could ensue. Facebook friends could lose their friendship–a perfect virus for facebook when you think about it.
Is there a Godly correlation here? I think so, for the Bible warns of \’viruses\’ in the Body of Christ. I just read in I Timothy 6 these words: \”If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth.\” (v.3-5) Later in the chapter Paul exhorts Timothy to \”guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.\” (v.20-21)
Body of Christ viruses, according to this chapter, comes in the form of lies and divisive hearts. When the virus finds entry, takes root and begins replicating, the results are devastating: strife, envy, relational friction, evil suspicion, godless chatter, malicious talk, corrupt minds, lost faith, etc. The Body becomes ill and less effective in fulfilling its purpose for existence. The only ones who enjoy the ensuing chaos are the ones who created and circulated the virus—the author of lies (Satan) and his minions.
How do we discern what is false, though? Paul notes above that anything that deviates from Jesus Christ\’s instruction and godly teaching is veering into virus-ville. If we have a relationship with Jesus, then we are progressively learning to hear His voice, know His lingo, discern His ways (our hunger for the Word and prayer are indications of our desire to better know and hear Him). The better we get to know Him, His Word and His Ways, the better we\’re able to discern something \’other\’ than Him. Just like the facebook virus I was invited to open: it didn\’t speak the same language as my friends, I just knew it wasn\’t from them, so I summarily dismissed it.
Wanna avoid a visit to virus-ville? Then get to know our Savior and refuse to entertain any other teachings. Our society is rife with false gospels, so we can\’t expect to hear Truth on the airwaves or around the water cooler. No, best to get to know Him who is Truth, then we\’ll better be able to discern lies or other voices and the sickness they bring–those whom knowingly or unknowingly sneeze without a sleeve.