Now it’s personal. COVID-19, the invisible tyrant that declared itself emperor of the world this past year, audaciously marched right into our house, put its feet up, and proceeded to boss me and my husband around for nearly a month.

I know God promises in Romans 8:28 to work all things together for good for those who love Him, but so far it’s been hard to see any upside to this virus. Except, of course, that the evil in this world always intensifies my already red-hot longing for heaven.

If, as suspected, COVID-19 was developed in order to purposefully inflict misery upon the world, well, that just makes me mad. I really can’t think of any noble reasons to cook up new illnesses, can you? Don’t we already have enough on the menu?

So, if indeed COVID-19 was and is a bio-weapon, my first thought is, “Whoever’s responsible for this seriously needs Jesus.” My second and admittedly less-noble thought is that any responsible parties who don’t repent should perhaps spend eternity in a giant vat of Vick’s VapoRub.

I know that’s not very gracious, but as I’m still dragging from my bout of the ’rona, I can’t pretend I feel especially gracious toward those who perpetrate this kind of evil. What diabolical contortions occur in a person’s soul to enable them to intentionally hurt people who’ve never done anything to them?

I’ve always been keenly interested in exactly why people do what they do, but the foundational reason why people do bad things really isn’t a mystery. The Bible tells us straight up in Romans 1:28: “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”

Remove God from the consciousness of an individual or a nation and the relativistic morality that evolves is as flimsy as a wet tissue and vulnerable to all kinds of evil influences. Without accountability to a holy God, unholy behavior — “what ought not to be done” — is bound to happen.

That’s how, I presume, a bunch of scientists went to work, put their lunches in the break room fridge and stepped into a lab to create a virus they knew would kill and sicken millions of people and wreak havoc in a world that can scarcely withstand more havoc.

If we don’t believe God will hold us accountable, or we fear people more than we fear our Creator, we’re playing into the hands of the devil, whose avowed purpose is to “kill, steal and destroy” everything God loves (see John 10:10). As folk legend Bob Dylan so aptly expressed in song, “Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”

Spoiler alert: Serving the devil never ends well.

The thing about serving God, though, is that even as I’m ticked at those who unleashed COVID-19 upon this world and upon my life, God requires me to look in the mirror and remove the “log” in my own eye, as Jesus taught (Matt 7:3-5). That means I have to ask, “What am I unleashing on my personal world?”

My own sins might not create ripples as big or as bad as COVID-19, but my sin does affect other people. It can wound and discourage, and it always hideously distorts the image of Jesus Christ I’m called, as His follower, to exude.

It’s been rightly said that sin will always take us further than we want to go, keep us longer than we want to stay and cost us more than we want to pay. May COVID-19 remind us of the awful consequences of choosing to walk outside the lines drawn for us by our good, good Creator.

Mary Ann Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, “A Giggle Goes a Long Way” and “Live.Learn.Laugh!” She can be reached at maryanncrum@gmail.com.