Joni and Friends
Spiritual Leprosy

by Joni Eareckson Tada

“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Hebrews 3:12-13

Looking back over the places I’ve visited over the years, Africa remains the most vivid, due especially to the plight of its disabled people. Diseases we don’t hear much about, like polio and leprosy, are prevalent there. Leprosy causes people to lose the sensation of pain. With no pain to warn them, these people badly damage their fingers or feet, to the point where they destroy that part of their bodies.

I remember one homeless woman who had no hands but pulled herself around in the dirt on the stumps of her wrists. She had built up calluses and her skin had become hardened. I wondered how much more damage she was doing to her body.

Now, you might think I have nothing in common with that woman. But I do. And maybe you do, too. A spiritual leprosy is described in the verses for today. This leprosy causes a person’s soul to become hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. You spiritually lose all sensation of pain, especially things that pain God. You end up ripping your soul apart, and you don’t even realize it. White becomes black; black becomes white. You think that what others call backsliding isn’t all that bad.

Listen, leprosy is something you don’t fool around with. If you have lied, go back and make it right before you become hardened. If you harbor a fantasy, shelve it! Don’t let it deaden your conscience. Don’t turn away from the Lord. Let me encourage you today to doublecheck to see if you have any leprous spots on your soul.

Father of love, never let me move so far from you that I lose my sensitivity to what moves you. Keep me aware of the ways in which you want me to express your compassion to the world. Show me any uncleanness in my soul.

Taken from More Precious than Silver

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Copyright © 1998
Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

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