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ocial distancing has become the new normal in a world ravaged by COVID-19. It’s about safe distancing—preventing us from catching or spreading the virus—and its objective is to prevent physical contact with anyone who could be a coronavirus spreader.

For safe distancing to work, everyone needs to do their part by keep his distance until the virus cannot find any host to propagate. Keep your distance!

When I reflect on this strict but necessary measure, I am reminded of what the Bible says about safe distancing. Scripture urges us to stay away from the infectious, contaminating influence and corrupting ways of the world:

Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. (2 Timothy 2:16–17)

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)

Without wood a fire goes out;
without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts. (Proverbs 26:20–22)

Talebearers, gossipers, and contentious people will infect us with their poisonous words. Their ways are like gangrene, which will spread to our good flesh. Keep your distance!

We can ask ourselves: When we are around such people, do they have a good effect on us? Are we tempted to join in the gossip at times, and contribute to the complaints and tales? Do these people stimulate our spiritual growth, or stunt it?

1 Corinthians 15:33 reminds us: “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” The “water droplets” from the attitudes and opinions of bad company can land inside our minds and hearts, infecting you thoughts, shaping our perspectives, and influencing our behaviour.

Proverbs 22:24–25, too, says: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.”

No doubt we do not live in a vacuum. Yet it would be wise to limit our exposure to bad, negative, and infectious influences that draw us further away from God. The truth is, we become whom we spend the most time with. Be aware of the company you keep. Keep your distance!

Reverend Sng Chong Hui is a retired Methodist Pastor after serving 38 years in 10 churches. He is currently re-engaged to serve as Pastor at Trinity Methodist Church.