In the world of entertainment, we may marvel at how adept some performers are at imitating a celebrity or musician. At times, the imitation is almost perfect and if it were not disclosed, we may be completely fooled by the performance. In the world of medicine, there are also imitators. These are diseases that present with signs and symptoms that mimic and masquerade as other diseases and are dubbed “The Great Imitators.”
For many years, syphilis and tuberculosis were diseases that held this dubious distinction. Many other diseases have been added to this growing list, including lupus, Lyme disease, and a broad variety of cancers.
Recently, I reviewed a skin biopsy of a patient who was COVID19 positive. The dermatologist who submitted the biopsy for consultation also included clinical photographs of the rash. If I didn’t have any history, the rash looked exactly like a type of drug rash known as SDRIFE (symmetrical drug related intertriginous and flexural exanthema), that has been associated with several well-known medications. However, this patient had not been on any medications that have been associated with this type of rash. The biopsy confirmed what I already suspected from the clinical presentation. I communicated my findings to the dermatologist that if we have completely excluded any possible drug reactions, including over the counter medications, this could be an example of a COVID19 associated SDRIFE. This latter disease has been increasingly reported as one of the many newly described skin manifestations of COVID19 infection.
Ever since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, I have been closely following the case reports and publications of the numerous manifestations of the disease. What is clear to all health care professionals is COVID19 mimics many other diseases, ranging from influenza to drug reactions to strokes. Indeed, it has become another disease that can be dubbed a great imitator.
Only be carefully analyzing all of the information on the patient, can a correct diagnosis be rendered and separated from other diseases it may mimic. In our spiritual walk with God, we must also be alert to imitators of true Christianity.
…some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:4 (NLT)
This verse was written by Jude, the half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ. He makes an insightful observation since Jude grew up with Jesus but did not recognize nor accept Him as God’s Son until after the Resurrection. If anyone knew who was an imitator of Jesus Christ, it was Jude. He issued this stern warning to his fellow Christians to be alert to imitators who had crept into their churches. Under the guise of scholarly Biblical teaching, their teachings focused upon exalting their own selves and subtly denying the deity and supremacy of Jesus Christ in their own lives.
This is still happening today. There are some religions and churches that have substituted a watered down and diluted version of Jesus Christ. Instead of teaching how the Bible unerringly shows Jesus Christ is God and our Lord and Savior, they focus upon the blasphemous possibilities that Jesus is one of many sons of God, or he is an exalted angel, or even that He is just one of many great prophets who can offer a pathway to salvation.
Who is behind these imitations? Satan. He masquerades as an angel of light but everything he does casts darkness and aspersions upon God. He subtly twists the words of the Bible leading to the exaltation of man’s accomplishments rather than acknowledging God’s eternal glory.
The Great Imitator.
What is true in medicine is even more true in our spiritual relationship with the One True God, Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.