Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins. - Psalm 38:3
It's wrong to view a person's illness as a sign of God's judgment. While Job was on his sick bed, his friends offered no friendly support when they insisted that Job's sickness was a result of his sins. The truth is that terrible illnesses often befall upright people while malicious persons go perennially unmolested.
HIV is not a divine judgement upon gay people; sickle cell disease is not a divine punishment upon black people; and cancer is not a divine condemnation upon humanity.
But while we reject the notion that our sicknesses are the result of divine disfavor, we should not ignore the critical role that our choices play in the state of our health. To the extent that we make choices which compromise our health, we displease the One whose desire is reflected in the words of 3 John: "I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
The American writer/philosopher, Elbert Hubbard said that we are not punished for our sins, but by them. Our health choices carry consequences.
We can choose to get adequate rest for our bodies and restoration for our minds, or face the consequences of weakened immune systems. We can choose to get more exercise and monitor our carbohydrate intake, or we can deal with the prospects of diabetes. We can choose to practice safer sex, or we can expose ourselves to the pandemic of STIs. We can get our alcohol and drug intake under control, or we can confront the hazards of substance abuse.
May our souls and our bodies both bring glory to God.
Lord let your deliverance be manifested in our decisions. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.