1 Chronicles 10:7

And when all the men of Israel that were in the valley saw that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, then they forsook their cities, and fled: and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

In a foursome, there is always that one person who is having a bad day. Nothing goes right for this golfer. Every putt lips out and he can’t believe it. His ball bounces the wrong way each time it hits the green. His displeasure and bad day infect the entire group.

King Saul had a similar effect on the nation of Israel. His sins and hardened rebellion against God first infected himself. Sin is a personal issue, but the effects therefrom spread to others when allowed to continue and grow in malignancy. We read in the focal scripture that his sons were also killed. Because of Saul and his family’s actions, the men of Israel fled which allowed the Philistines to occupy the territory.

Sin is a personal issue first and foremost. When we have sin in our lives, it first infects our own fellowship with God. Our communications and relationship are weakened when sin is allowed to set and harden.

As the sin is allowed to “fester”, our marriage and our familial relationships suffer because our personal sin and vices are given priority status. Consider the priorities of the alcoholic. The actual sin is confined to the person, but the whole family suffers because of his or her decisions. Involuntarily, the sinner begins to live a life with the mantra, “if I’m going to be miserable, everyone around me is going to be miserable.” Unconfessed sin promotes this type of living and soon the infection contaminates and thwarts any spiritual growth within the family or group.

Consider the golfer in your group who is having a bad day. His attitude grows even worse if others are having a good round and he only seems happy if others is having his sort of misfortune. Sin has the same influence. It is a contagious disease. In Numbers 16:21, God told Moses and Aaron to “separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” They were among a congregation with unhealthy attitude who was about to be subject to judgment.

Thankfully, the loving spirit of Christ has the same influence. Our circumstances should not dictate our happiness or our praise. The key is to have a right relationship with Jesus Christ. In Philippians 4:4, Paul made this decision while confined. Instead of sowing a seed of discontent and sorrow because of his predicament, he instead praised God by proclaiming “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” The seed of praise is contagious. As bad as things may seem, let us rejoice that we serve a faithful Savior. In Him, we find forgiveness and true happiness. In His fellowship, we are made whole in spite of our circumstances. When we decide to rejoice and praise our Lord, others will wonder how can you be happy? Jesus is the difference.

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