Leprosy of the Soul

2 Kings 5:27 “Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.”

Are you familiar with the Farmers Insurance commercial? We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.

As Elisha’s servant, Gehazi was a man who had seen a thing or two. He witnessed the power of God working through Elisha on numerous occasions, from restoring life to the Shunammite woman’s dead son, to the supernatural feeding of one hundred men with only twenty loaves of bread (2 Kings 4). Gehazi saw the Aramean soldier, Naaman, miraculously healed of leprosy. He also watched Elisha refuse gifts offered by Naaman in response to his healing. Elisha did not want Naaman to be confused as to the source of his healing. He wanted Naaman to recognize Israel’s God as the only true God in the world. And he did! (2 Kings 5:15)

This didn’t sit well with Gehazi. He convinced himself Naaman, “the Aramean,” should pay something for his cure. So he ran after Naaman and lied, saying Elisha had sent him to collect a bag of silver and some clothing. Then he took it and hid it in his house. But he couldn’t hide his actions from Elisha. My goodness, Elisha was a prophet! Gehazi really thought he could get away with his deception? Such is the power of rationalization.

Gehazi didn’t care that his greed might weaken Naaman’s perception of God. He was contaminated with the world’s way of thinking. As a result, Elisha declared Naaman’s leprosy would now cling to him and his descendants forever. The consequences of his actions revealed his problem ran more than skin deep. He was afflicted with leprosy of the soul.

Leprosy of the soul can happen today. It creeps in whenever we rationalize our sin in order to get what we want. We become so consumed with our desires, we no longer consider how our actions might reflect on the God we serve. It eventually isolates us, not only from God, but from other people.

No matter how seasoned our faith walk, just because we’ve seen a thing or two, doesn’t mean we know everything. Like Gehazi, we can become infected with the world’s way of thinking and take what we’ve seen for granted. Let’s always be on guard against greed and selfishness—against anything (or two) that could cause leprosy of the soul to cling to us.

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