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Issue Features
Discovery Magazine 2/1/1998

Sin and Sickness

Being sick is no fun! Sometimes our stomach aches. Sometimes we have a fever. And sometimes we just don’t feel good!

There are lots of things that can make us sick. Maybe we caught a virus and came down with the flu. Maybe we ate something that had bacteria in it, and we got food poisoning. Maybe we fell, scraped our knee, and it became infected.

Usually when we get sick, it isn’t because we did something we knew was wrong. For example, maybe we shook hands with a friend, but didn’t know that he was coming down with the flu, and had germs on his hands. Then, when we rubbed our eyes, we got the same germs and came down with the flu. We didn’t do anything wrong, but we still got sick.

However, sometimes people get sick because they sin and disobey God. The apostle Paul wrote to early Christians: "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Paul wanted Christians to understand that they should take care of their body, because it was a gift from God. They needed to take good care of it so they could remain healthy and spread the good news about Jesus.

Today, however, some people don’t listen to God’s Word. They disobey God, and as a result they sometimes get sick, or even die. You’ve probably heard about people who take drugs (like heroin or cocaine). These drugs damage our bodies, and can cause us to get sick or die. Women who take drugs while they are pregnant can cause their newborn baby to be sick as well. You’ve probably heard about people who drank beer or liquor, got drunk, and had a terrible car accident in which they (or someone else) ended up being hurt or killed.

We sin when we do things that are wrong. Often, the results of that sin can make us sick, hurt us, or even kill us. And sadly, when we sin, sometimes others around us can be hurt or killed as well. When James wrote his book in the New Testament, he said: "To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). If we want to avoid sinning, we should concentrate on doing good. That includes taking care of the bodies God gave us. If we do what is right, we can avoid many bad diseases, illnesses, or circumstances. You may not be able to avoid having a bad cold, or getting the flu. But you can avoid getting sick, or getting hurt, as a result of sin.

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