When I say “so pass it on”, I don’t mean the virus! A long, long time ago we used to sing a song that started, ‘it’s love, it’s love, it’s love that makes the world go around’. Its chorus was, ‘so pass it on, so pass it on to everyone’. So in this article,
I want to write about what to pass on and what not to pass on during this time of international crisis, or at any other time for that matter.
What Not To Pass On
First the negative. Obviously, we must ensure not to be carriers and conveyors of COVID-19, but sometimes we unintentionally pass on an even more insidious plague – fear. Many of the governments of the world, including here in South Africa, have made the creation or transmission of false news a punishable offence. Yet so many people unwittingly violate this regulation on an almost daily basis. Why? Well, I am addressing Christians in this article, so I assume that there are no malicious and wicked people among the disciples of the Lord Jesus. No, the folks that pass on fake news, hoaxes, and fear-inspiring pictures and stories are motivated by something other than hate and malice. They want to warn, inform, and help protect other people. Yet so often what they do has the opposite result.
A few weeks ago I received a WhatsApp voice note purporting to be from a lady in Spain warning everyone that the hospitals were turning away the elderly and leaving them to die so that younger people could receive treatment, and that the virus was transmitted just by breathing in the vicinity of an infected person.
A few days later another voicemail arrived, apparently from someone working in a Cape Town hospital, presenting all sorts of alarming ‘facts’ – this one at least was proven to be false news/malicious hoax.
Then came yet another voice message from a ‘Pastor Jonathan’ claiming that the virus was a symptom of 5G microwave poisoning, that the soon-coming vaccine would make things worse and contain a microchip ‘mark of the beast’, and so forth – David Icke on steroids!
Let’s Get Real
So let’s ask the obvious questions:
- Do these messages, and the many others like them, encourage, hearten, and fill us with faith?
- Do they point us to Jesus?
- Have they been verified as true and accurate by any credible authority?
The answers are invariably no, no, and no! Then why are people sending them to you?
The reason in most cases is that their transmission is a fear-filled reaction of a well-meaning person who has neither applied logic and wisdom nor fact-checked before passing on the message or picture.
My personal opinion is that anyone who passes on fear-inspiring messages of any sort (including “It’s the end of the world!”) needs to think very carefully about the effect that it will have on others.
Some Medical-type Information
I looked at a number of sites that contain information on the psycho-physiological effects of prolonged stress and here is one article that puts it quite well – https://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/stress-immune-system/
For those who don’t want to read the whole thing, please pay close attention to the following quotes from it: ‘Your immune system is intrinsically linked to your stress levels’, and, ‘The chemical reactions triggered by stressful situations result in an onslaught of stress hormones being pumped around the body. While these hormones are useful in acute situations, their ability to interfere with the immune system can result in inflammation, reduced white blood cells, and a higher susceptibility to infection and tissue damage.’
Now I don’t want my immune system compromised and I don’t want this for anyone else either… and I am sure that you feel the same.
A Helpful Diagram
Here is a diagram I think it sets things out really well:
A Scripture For Us All
‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things’. – Philippians 4:4-8
So Pass it On
So, my resolve, and I trust yours too, is to pass on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (and funny?). Anything else is either a physical or a soul virus.
I wrote this article two weeks ago and since then I have not received any fear-fake-fatuous messages. So either things have improved in my communication circle or I have been removed from mailing lists and flagged as a grumpy old man… I choose to believe that things have improved; praise God!
Be blessed and keep safe and well.