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McCoy: Spreading good germs
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"Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose."

Philippians 2:1-2 (New Living



As cold and flu season looms near, have you gotten your flu shot? Many people, me included, get a flu shot every year to help build immunities against the influenza virus, or "the flu." In our family, it is very important that we all get the flu shot because of people in our family who have compromised immune systems. Families with asthma, small children, and elderly members are especially good candidates for flu shots every year. After all, during the upcoming holiday season, good cheer is the only thing we want to share with others, not bad germs.

Have you ever noticed that bad will is also infectious? When people are angry or upset about something, they tend to spread it around. An old saying, "Misery loves company," rings true. People who are upset about something tend to talk about it to everyone, dwell on it continually, and grump over it until they have "infected" other people with their "ill" attitude. When I was growing up, my grandmother would describe us as "ill" if we were in a bad mood or "out of sorts."

But there’s good news! A good attitude is also infectious. Like the flu shot that builds immunity to influenza viruses, a good attitude also builds immunity to "ill" attitudes. The Apostle Paul encourages Christians to spread goodwill. Are you encouraged by your faith in Christ? Are you comforted by the love of Jesus? Do you enjoy Christian fellowship? Do you feel compassion for those in need? Paul reminds believers to focus on these things and on encouraging others, spreading the love of Christ and working in unity with others. In other words, as our parents used to tell us when we were little, "Play nice." Get along with others, and spread love and goodwill, not "ill" will and misery.

Are you encouraged today? Are you comforted? How can you spread "good germs" to those around you by encouraging and comforting others today??

Jan McCoy is associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Covington. She may be reached at