“The devil always sends errors into the world in pairs—pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
The virus scare and its variant fears is an active lesson in Lewis’s duality of error and serves as a living lesson on the need for a healthy immune system for body and spirit.
We’ve seen, probably from one pole or the other, the reaction of people, communities, governments, and most regrettably churches to the current virus. There have been many heated arguments, curses, threats, and governmental coercion—none of these from sound thinking or the recognition of how a healthy immune system works.
The largest part of our reaction has been more base than that—fight or flight. And that this reaction was manipulated by the extremes of the political spectrum is a subject for The Colonel. The fight or flight reaction is natural and healthy, but it is not a long-term solution—that is up to the immune system.
Did you know that you have a spiritual immune system? Well, it’s more than spiritual it covers our entire being and works just like the physical part of it with which we may be familiar.
That part of the system generally remains hidden from sight until attacked, then it goes into action. However, the immune system can fail on its own and the result is an extreme reaction at one end or the other of its function.
A healthy immune system will spot invaders. Whether the invader seems harmful or not the immune system attacks it based on the fact that the foreign substance is “Not Me”. That is, it is not part of my unique body. The immune system manufactures little soldiers to kill the Not Me infection before it can kill the body. The system works amazingly well when cared for, respected, and left on its own whenever possible.
But sometimes, for various reasons, the system becomes polarized. Then, one of two things may happen. And, you guessed it, both things are extremes from the norm and deadly to the body.
The immune system may come to see everything in or entering the body as “Me”. Sort of like at our southern borders, the guardians of our unique boundaries wave everybody in. You might recognize that this is how AIDS kills. Every infection is welcomed in and invited to flourish even if it kills us.
The other extreme is more prevalent, though not as readily recognized. That is when the body comes to see nothing as “Me”. So, it attacks not only invaders but the body itself in a host of what are called autoimmune diseases. Some of their names you probably do know—lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis to name a few.
This happens spiritually and socially as we have seen. Ever been to a church and not feel welcome—like you weren’t part of the body? Malfunction of the immune system. Ever been to a church where the reasoning from scripture was so married to social agenda as to not count as individual thought at all? Immune failure.
The cure is to return for the extreme measures of fight or flight and come to spiritual homeostasis of reason, knowledge, and reflection. Fear is not of God. Neither is indifference or malice. All of these are the symptoms of error.
In one thing Cain was correct. He was not his brother’s keeper. He was nevertheless his brother’s brother. As such, his role is not to compel this brother to act a certain way or dictate what his brother should offer to God. We cannot be others, only ourselves and faithful siblings one of another armed with love, and an extended hand in time of need.