A Different Kind Of Leprosy

  • Nov. 9, 2006
  • #6399

Joni shares what she calls "spiritual leprosy" and how it affects us as Christians.

AL: Though we rarely hear about it in the Western world, diseases like leprosy still blight and mar many lives in less-developed nations. 

JONI: That's right, Al, the disfigurement of leprosy, as you have no doubt heard, happens when people lose their sensation of pain. And so, with no pain to warn them, people badly damage their fingers or feet, and ultimately destroy them. When I was in India, I met a lot of people with this disease...

AL: Thankfully, there are new medical treatments to help with this disease, but, Joni, you once told me an interesting parallel between leprosy and... what did you call it?...

JONI: I called it Spiritual leprosy, I think that was the way I put it.

AL: Tell us about that...

JONI: Well, in the book of Hebrews, it says, "See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you (now here's the part, Al) may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Right there you have a diagnosis of spiritual leprosy. It's when your soul becomes hardened, unfeeling, by sin's deceitfulness. 

AL: Like... when you spiritually lose all sensation of pain...

JONI: Well, yes, Al, especially things that pain God. It's where we actually become dull and deadened to sin-when our sensitivity to wrongdoing becomes so numb that you end up ripping your soul apart and don't even realize it. You sin-even blatantly sin-but you don't feel it. White becomes black, black becomes white (or at least gray), and you end up thinking that what others call rebellion in your life isn't really all that bad. You end up even turning on God's people, on good Christian friends who try to point out the spiritual blight...

But friend, leprosy is something you don't want to fool around with-spiritual or otherwise. If it's a lie, go back and make it right before you become hardened. If it's a fantasy, shelve it! Get rid of it! Don't let it fossilize your conscience. Don't turn away from the Lord, as it says in Hebrews 3:12. Let me encourage you today, friend... do a double-check to see if you've got any leprous spots on your soul.

AL: Joni, that's a good reminder. And I think a good parallel for this would be Matthew 8:2-3 where it tells us that "A man with leprosy came and knelt before [Jesus] and said, 'Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.' Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. 'I am willing,' he said. 'Be clean!'" 

JONI: May the Lord Jesus today touch the hearts of us all, myself included – just as He touched the leper in that passage. None of us can afford a disease of spiritual leprosy! 

AL: Speaking of Jesus making disabled people whole, our Wheels for the World team is returning from Peru tomorrow where... probably... there are more than a few people who struggle with the disease of leprosy. May the Spirit of God water the Gospel seeds that were planted there this week, keeping hearts soft, and souls sensitive and alive to any sin that encroaches. 

JONI: That's right and thank you, friends, thank you for praying for all the people with disabilities in Peru this week who opened up their hearts for the first time to the Great Physician, the healer of the soul... Jesus Christ!

© Joni and Friends

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