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What is the difference between an affliction and a sickness?

Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:13 - 5:14 KJV)

James 5:13 - 14

ESV - 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Clarify Share Report Asked September 05 2014 1409926162 James Edwards

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Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
"Affliction" in James 5:13 means 'to suffer evil' or to endure affliction. This covers many forms of hardships: seeming setbacks, persecution, oppression by demons, suffering, rifts in relationships, etc.

"Sick" in James 5:14 means weakness or sickness. It covers illness, feebleness, or even general tiredness and lethargy. It can even cover 'moral' sickness or moral weakness, such as sin.

An affliction is a trial from without (other people, Satan, circumstances, etc), while a sickness is a weakness or illness from within (physical suffering, disease, moral weakness).

James goes deeper into the connection between affliction and prayer in James 1:2-5

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you".

The response to affliction is prayer for endurance and the proper response to circumstance, even if our circumstances do not change, and to pray for justice (Luke 18:1-8, Rom 15:5-6). Reaching out to other Christians is advised, and they can pray for you as well (Matt 17:14-21). Esther and Mordecai are excellent examples of people who were not passive in the face of affliction, but their faithfulness and duty did not change even if circumstances did not (Esther 4:1-17) One of the most powerful passages in the Bible on affliction and God's provision is Lamentations 3:1-68 [Don't have time to read the whole chapter? Lam 3:31-33].

The response to sickness is to seek others out for help for both healing from pain and to help bear up under the pain. This may be going to an elder for healing (James 5:14, Mark 6:13, Acts 28:8), to fellow Christians for healing, or if the sickness is due to sin confessing that sin to other Christians (Gal 6:1-3, James 5:15) Not all sicknesses are due to sin (John 9:1-3). Sometimes we may not realize that a sin is causing sickness, but even things like bitterness and forgiveness can cause sickness or worsen illnesses. [The book "Deadly Emotions" by Don Colbert gets into this issue in-depth].

Both God's granting of perseverance in affliction, and His granting of healing for sickness, are for His glory, due to His compassion, and so we might be compassionate towards others (Rom 15:4-6, II Cor 1:3-4, 
John 9:3).

September 06 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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