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Out of an Abundance of Caution


By Barbara Higby

“Abundance of caution” has become the catchphrase of the day. It is the reason given for closing schools, churches, offices, libraries, restaurants, sporting events, theaters, and any large (or not so large) gathering. These are just six items pulled from recent headlines:

  • Hackensack schools closed “out of an abundance of caution.”
  • President Trump canceled upcoming events in Colorado and Nevada “out of an abundance of caution.”
  • San Diego County declared a local and public health emergency in response to the coronavirus, “out of an abundance of caution.”
  • Adams County, Colorado. announed that “out of an abundance of caution” many county facilities would close.
  • The Denver Zoo closed “out of an abundance of caution.”  
  • “Out of an abundance of caution,” the Securities and Exchange Commission required employees working on the ninth floor of its D.C. headquarters to stay home.

Out of an “abundance of caution,” I purchased disposable gloves and ordered masks from Amazon. I am not shopping, attending church, or meeting with friends. I am sanitizing doorknobs and wiping down packages.

When I act from an abundance of caution, I’m declaring that I don’t actually expect to catch the virus, but I’m not going to be foolish. After all, COVID-19 is out there and no one knows where the dangers lie. At some point in thinking about this, my brain switched from thoughts about physical safety to considerations of spiritual safety.

I don’t expect to be affected by watching that show, listening to that trash talk, dabbling in that abusive substance, reading those titillating words, peeking at those pictures, running up my credit bill, making that bet, or thinking those self-defeating thoughts, but…

If I exercise an abundance of caution in my private life, I will be protected. My chances of infection will lessen and I will be healthier in my mind, soul, and spirit.

Like the COVID-19, our enemy lurks, unseen, ready to corrupt us. The Bible warns us to exercise an abundance of caution: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Even in isolation, computers and phone lines readily connect us with the world. In our current state of seclusion, and in going forward, let’s live with an abundance of caution.

“Dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

Barbara Higby is a writer and inspirational speaker. Her latest book is entitled I Was Broken, Too; Four Paths to Renew Hope. You can read her bio and follow her blog at www.barbarahigby.com.