During the 1300’s in Europe, 20-30 million people were estimated to have died from the Bubonic plague, also known as, “The Black Death.” In the 1800’s in China, 12 million people died from this horrible plague. Ebola and Zika are more recent contagious diseases but with a much lower mortality rate. They are all communicable by contact with an infected person or from fleas and mosquitoes. Many other illnesses such as the flu, measles and the common cold are contagious and easily spread.

This is not to say that everything contagious is dangerous or deadly. In the nontechnical sense, laughter or a smile are both good types of contagion. Some driver’s training classes have the slogan, “Courtesy is Contagious.” Within the last few years efforts to, “pay forward” to others the good deeds done for us have become more and more popular. The apostle Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit predated that idea by several centuries when referring to the comfort God gives us (2 Cor 1:3-4).

It appears that both shouts of joy and the sounds of weeping can be spread from person to person at the same time. This happened to the returning exiles at the dedication of the foundation of the new temple in Jerusalem (Eza 3:11-13). About this time the priest, Ezra, was praying and weeping and confessing the sins of Israel before the house of God. Soon a large crowd gathered around and soon, “they too wept bitterly.” (Eza 10:1)

Guilt seems to also be contagious.

Almost every Western movie or Vampire movie has a mob scene in which normally law-abiding citizens are swept up by emotions to do violent acts. At Jesus’ trial the Jewish religious leaders were able to instigate the crowd to demand Jesus’ crucifixion.

Since there is the possibility of the contagious spread of negative or positive acts in our daily lives, let us as Christians inspire praise not damage to our Lord’s cause (Heb 10:24).
—Jim Bailey