I know people can develop allergies in their adult years, but I never thought much about this reality—until this weekend when I had the unexpected and uncomfortable experience of a food reaction. Apparently, I’m now allergic to either pineapple or kiwi (and despite the helpful suggestions I’ve received, have no desire to determine which one).
The good news is I didn’t need an EpiPen®. Benedryl® worked well enough to decrease the swelling of my supermodel-sized lips and constricted throat.
The experience left me wondering two things: 1) Why would ANYONE pay to have bigger lips, and 2) What can I learn from this?
The advice to avoid Botox® is free, and you’re welcome.
But if you’re up for a more difficult challenge, then read on to consider two spiritual allergies we believers would do well to develop (despite the discomfort they may bring).
Allergy #1: Gossip
Do you know if Julie is dating that boy any more? Is something wrong with that student? Why did so and so get fired?
These all seem like harmless questions, and all of us are probably guilty of asking them. Many people find the juicy details of others’ lives irresistible.
We can tell ourselves that we have “good intentions” and just want “to know how to pray better.”
Hogwash. We’re just being nosy, and it’s none of our business. (Now if someone has entrusted you with a prayer request, the only responsibility you have is to tell Jesus and no one else about it.)
Proverbs 16:28 warns about the danger of gossip. It can destroy friendships and divide families and churches.
A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.
The next time you hear gossip, sneeze and excuse yourself from the conversation. Don’t listen to it, and don’t spread it. Treat it like an allergy, and avoid any stimuli or situation that will cause a reaction.
Allergy #2: Critical Spirit
Unfortunately, human nature is to criticize. The pastor’s sermon was boring. I don’t like the new order of worship. My teacher dresses as if the 1980s were yesterday.
I’m not talking about constructive criticism (which is what I want from my editor and what students need from their teachers). Constructive criticism is designed for our good. Yes, it might wound our pride, but in the end, we’re stronger and better for it.
A critical spirit is different. There’s nothing beneficial about it. In many ways, it is similar to gossip, because it tears people down.
The Bible has much to say about our words. Its definitions leave little room for complaining, criticizing, and malice.
- “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6 ESV)
- “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 ESV)
If someone does need correction, the Bible provides guidelines for restoring that person “in a spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 1:6). But for the grace of God, we ourselves could be guilty of the same sin.
When someone does something we don’t like, our knee-jerk reaction is to criticize. The truth is, we rarely know all the details or circumstances. Maybe the teacher doesn’t buy new clothes so she can pay for her father’s cancer treatments. Maybe the “boring sermon” was exactly what someone in the congregation needed to hear.
Unless someone’s actions violate Scripture, be slow to criticize. Be forgiving. Be understanding. Be kind.
Some of us are more sensitive or susceptible to certain spiritual pitfalls. Maybe you don’t struggle with gossip, but you have a hard time saying anything nice about the girl who sits next to you in Spanish class.
Perhaps you’re weak in another area. Maybe you struggle with a low self-image or fall prey to the comparison trap.
I challenge you to ask God to show you spiritual areas where you’re susceptible. Then, make these areas a matter of daily prayer. Find verses in Scripture that speak to your weakness, and memorize them.
I won’t guarantee immediate victory. More than likely, you will struggle with the same spiritual battle throughout your life, but remember this: We can be “more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).
This week, go out, and conquer. Before you do, arm yourself with God’s Word and a box of tissues; keep the Benadryl handy, and avoid situations that will bring you into direct conflict with stimuli.
Oh, and no pineapple or kiwi for me, please.
2 Spiritual Allergies We Should Develop – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)
The next time you hear gossip, sneeze and excuse yourself from the conversation. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)