Dear Friends,

These are unprecedented weeks for the peoples of the world as the coronavirus continues to spread faster than ever, bringing with it suffering and uncertainty. In this Thursday prayershot, Jelena Miličević, a facilitator in the preaching movement in Bosnia & Herzegovina based in Mostar, reminds us of the different kinds of infections that can damage our lives and the lives of others.

“Today I went out to buy something. I saw people wearing masks, keeping social distance and, in the shop, the radio was shouting out the safety measures we are to follow. It was a little creepy. Everywhere my fellow citizens wore serious expressions of fear on their faces.

Being afraid is understandable. This enemy is invisible. It creates uncertainty. Will someone infect me? Will I infect someone? This second question makes me afraid. I live with two pensioners who have health concerns and I don't want to be the cause of their pain. So, I wash my hands more carefully. I don’t touch handrails. I leave my coat outside on the balcony. I spray disinfectant on my shoes. I wear a mask and gloves. But I don’t live in fear. I believe in Christ who redeemed me and who has a plan for me. I know that God holds all things in His hands and that He is in control.

These experiences have caused me to think about other things.

How careful am I when it comes to spiritual things? Do I take care not to ‘infect’ other people with my negative attitudes, or with my anger and lack of kindness for people who come into contact with me? Do I put a mask over my mouth to stop words that are not glorifying to God, words that might infect, or even kill?! I confess that sometimes I don't realize how much I can endanger other people when I thoughtlessly judge, complain, criticize, or tell inappropriate jokes. Sometimes my careless words and actions can offend someone so that instead of me being someone who brings people closer to Christ, I am the one who drives people from Christ.

The enemy of our souls is invisible. We don't always recognize him. He lurks in the shadows and brings doubt, fear, judgement, anger, and he tempts us to sin. We collect his ‘germs’ and spread them around, not thinking about whom we contaminate along the way. We need to be more careful about what we think, speak and do. We need to shine the light of Jesus and allow the life of Jesus to spring up from within us. We show our love for our neighbors by being careful and taking care of them. We become those who bring hope and joy to others and who show strength to resist every fear and temptation.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col 3.12-17).”