Warnings about health and sin (Sir 18:19-18:21)

“Before you speak,

Learn!

Before you fall ill,

Take care of your health!

Before judgment comes,

Examine yourself!

At the time of scrutiny,

You will find forgiveness.

Before falling ill,

Humble yourself!

When you have sinned,

Repent!”

In the ancient world, there was a correlation between sin and ill health. People got sick because they had sinned. Sirach says that you should learn before you speak out. You should take care of your health before you get sick. Before a judgment comes upon you, examine yourself so that if you have done anything wrong, you can ask for forgiveness. You should humble yourself. If you have sinned, repent so that the chances of better health will increase. We still see this stigma of bad health and sin with mental illness today. The general feeling is that you must have done something wrong. In fact, we tend to incarcerate mentally ill people rather than try to cure them.

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