Sunday, 20 May 2012

Is Leprosy an issue still today?

Listened to a great talk from the Leprosy Mission today.

Matthew 25:36 (NIV)
I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

The imagery in this passage is quite stark.

Matthew 25:32 (NIV)
All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Righteous = sheep
Unrighteousness = goats

Jesus is saying come with me and take place in the place I have prepared.

How do we spot the righteous?

Our commitment to Jesus is measured though our deeds. Our faith should drive  us to care for those in need.

Where is our need? Is it local, in our street? In our town? In our country or to all ends of the world?

The righteous ask?

Matthew 25:37-39 (NIV)
"Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? [38] When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? [39] When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

When we go and help and give to those in need we are serving Him.

Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
"The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Jesus had particular empathy with different groups, the prostitutes, the people affected by leprosy.

Why did Jesus have particular empathy with those people affected by leprosy? These are outcasts, with a terrible stigma. When people have leprosy they are outcasts and this is against the very being of God.

They were not allowed to mix, lots of rules, a massive stigma.

Labels stick.

Matthew 26:6 (NIV)
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper,

Simon could not have been contagious, he had been cured of the leprosy. The stigma of the disease still remained.

Today the stigma still remains. The disease is not highly contagious. 95% of the population are naturally immune. There are effective drug treatments and with 48 hours the disease can be removed.

Leprosy can cause long term physical problems and add to the stigma.

Today people still can not marry, own houses, work etc.

It is a gross social injustice.

The work of TLM is helping repeal some of the outdated laws relating to the stigma of leprosy.


  1. Dear Spencer

    We're delighted to hear you found the talk on The Leprosy Mission's work interesting and thank you so much for your support.

    Could I just draw your attention to the use of the 'L' word in your blog post though?

    For some years it has been accepted that in order to end stigma and discrimination against people affected by leprosy, The Leprosy Mission and likeminded organisations have avoided using the word leper, which carries extremely negative connotations. It is unfortunate that the word continues to be used in the UK media, impacting on the human rights and dignity of people with the disease.

    We advocate for the term ‘people affected by leprosy’ to be used.

    The word leper is derogatory, outdated, and is associated with someone who has been rejected, ostracised or regarded as an outcast.

    People affected by leprosy have asked that the word no longer be used. It is an offensive term that has historically been used to justify appalling treatment and the passing of stigmatizing legislation. Today, having leprosy still means disability, discrimination and poverty for many people worldwide. When one person is diagnosed with leprosy every two minutes, it is hardly a laughing matter.

    The Leprosy Mission England and Wales works to eliminate the causes and consequences of leprosy. An important part of our work is to ensure that the word leper is not used by media personnel or condoned by media channels.

    I hope you don't mind me pointing this out to you. Thanks again for your support.

    Kind regards

    Charlotte Orson
    Communications Officer
    The Leprosy Mission

  2. Dear TLM, I have edited the two occurrences I used the "L word" in this post and from the key words tag. I apologize for any offense caused. It is interesting to note that I based this on a talk given by a director of TLM given at church and reflected the language and terminology he used, I will however, not use this term again.

    Thanks for your feedback,