We have a serious epidemic on our hands. STDs are spreading like wildfire. Fewer and fewer people are making the choice to keep themselves pure and untainted. That means more and more people will be suffering life-long consequences, issues that will haunt them and plague them until they die.

There is treatment for most of these STDs, but few are willing to accept it. Most victims don’t even want to admit they have one for fear of appearing weak or unfaithful. They don’t want to be labeled or judged. They do everything they can to avoid the stigma of these STDs. The shame, the embarrassment, the humiliation – it’s too much for them to handle. So they suffer silently trying to live their lives as “normal” people.
But the problems never really go away. Not unless they are willing to confront their STD head on and accept the necessary treatment.
And the sad thing is, all of us, to some extent, live with at least one STD.
You and I both have Spiritually Transmitted Diseases.
As you breathe a sigh of relief, keep in mind that these are every bit as serious as physical diseases. A physical disease may disfigure your body, it may even lead to death, but spiritual diseases are silent killers that ultimately lead to spiritual death, i.e. eternity separated from God.
If I had to choose one, give me physical death any day.
Paul knew about them. Paul quotes a Greek poet, Menander, who knew about them. It’s no secret that they exist or how they are spread. We’ve known about them for thousands of years. Your parents probably reminded you of their danger and how to getting a spiritually transmitted disease.

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Jim Rohn, famed entrepreneur and motivational speaker, said it this way, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I (mostly) agree with that sentiment. I’ve known people who were one way when I first met them, but after a few years of hanging out with certain “other” people, that person was completely different.

When “good kids” get to hanging out with the “wrong crowd,” you can see the heartache it causes their parents, especially the mother. And then when something really bad happens, (for instance, they wind up in handcuffs), their parents will make the excuse: “They just started hanging around the wrong crowd.” What the parents might not realize is that by hanging out with the wrong people, their child became the wrong kind of person.

I’ve seen some really good kids have their lives completely ruined because of the friends they chose.

But that’s an extreme case that won’t happen to most of us good church folk, right?


I’m not saying that going to church will cause you to hold up a liquor store at gun point. But just think about the attitudes and mindsets that religious people are prone to “catch” from other religious people.

  • Apathy
  • Legalism
  • Judgmentalism
  • Hypocrisy
  • Holier-than-thou
  • Pessimism
  • Fear-mongering
  • Cynicism
  • Fatalism
  • Escapism
  • Superficiality
I could go on. And I bet that as you were reading through that list some names and faces came to mind, didn’t they?
In my everyday life these would not be the kind of people I would choose to hang around. When I’m with someone who is cynical about everything, I find myself becoming cynical. When I’m around someone who is judgmental and critical of others, I find myself becoming more critical. So I do my best to avoid these people.
But then Sunday morning roles around and churches everywhere are flooded with carriers of these STDs just waiting to see who they can affect next so they won’t have to suffer alone. After all, misery loves company. When Grumpy Gus, Debbie Downer, and Johnny Raincloud take their seats on the pew, they expect everyone around them to have the same stern demeanor cleverly disguised as “reverence.”

Don’t get too close to these people. You might catch something.

So what can be done? How can we keep these STDs from stealing our joy and destroying our faith? Why don’t we see what Scripture suggests.

The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
I will have nothing to do with what is evil. (Psalm 101:4)

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. (1 Timothy 4:7)

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. (Titus 3:9-10)

As with sexually transmitted diseases, the best prevention of spiritually transmitted diseases is abstinence. Don’t be around those people. Have nothing to do with them. Expose them. Call them out for what they are. Bring awareness to the seriousness of these spiritual diseases that paralyze churches and demolish faith.

If you must be around such people, remember that Love is the best medicine.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 4:4-7)

Everybody needs love. Those with spiritually transmitted diseases need a heaping dose of extra-strength love.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)