Showing compassionate love during crisis

It doesn’t take long after flipping through TV channels or scrolling through social media to see that the most recent dominant news story has been the Ebola crisis. While West Africa is experiencing the worst outbreak in its history, Ebola is unlikely to present a serious threat to countries that have strong health care. Media coverage and misinformation has led to unnecessary fear and, in some cases, panic. This outbreak surely deserves media attention, but the primary concern should be for our African neighbors. As followers of Jesus we are called to respond not from fear but from a heart of compassion through prayer, giving of resources, and promoting education about Ebola.

The need-to-know facts About Ebola

• Ebola has infected more than 10,000 people in West Africa, leaving nearly 5,000 dead.
• This most recent outbreak began in Guinea from a two-year-old boy who may have handled or eaten bad meat. The boy died and the disease spread to his family and nearby villages.
• Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, and a rash leading to internal bleeding; it is only contagious through contact of bodily fluids; it is not airborne.
• At this time, there is no available cure or vaccine for this disease.
• The U.S has four known cases of people infected with Ebola, of which one resulted in death.
• On average 50 percent of people who get Ebola die from it.

Beyond the hype

God’s Word encourages Christians to serve God and others rather than focusing on self. It is certainly necessary to take proper precautions in our efforts to stop the spread of this disease, but it shouldn’t monopolize our thoughts and cause us anxiety. Christ reminds us that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves (see Matthew 22:39). Help your youth look beyond the hype surrounding Ebola and show acts of love and compassion to our African neighbors fighting this disease.

Question of the day: What is the most recent act of compassion you've witnessed?

Focal Scriptures: Psalm 103:8-18; Philippians 2:1-11; 1 John 3:16-20

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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