Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. II Timothy 2:23
I was saddened to read a blog post recently about the selfishness of people. I don’t deny that selfishness is part of the human condition. But this blogger was basing his judgment on one thing – who is or isn’t wearing a mask.
For the past fifteen months our nation has been embroiled in controversy regarding (among other things) masks – whether or not they work, whether they increase bacterial infections, whether they decrease the oxygen supply to children’s growing brains, whether emotional damage is done when people can’t see one another’s faces and smiles, whether masks are dehumanizing, and whether not wearing a mask is a sign that a person doesn’t care if they infect and kill people.
Hearing-impaired people, no longer able to read lips, are feeling cut off from society. People wearing glasses get cranky because wearing a mask fogs up their lenses … Maybe that’s just me…
I even heard on the news of a man who was ticketed for wearing a mask and glasses while driving. He was told he could wear a mask or glasses while driving, but not both.
People wearing masks while driving alone have their intelligence questioned. People not wearing a mask in stores get hateful looks from people who are.
Crossing to the other side of the street when seeing another person approach used to be considered rude, now it’s deemed considerate. Keeping one’s distance in general is considered thoughtful, while elderly people with dementia sadly wonder why no one hugs them any more.
And I haven’t even mentioned the closed businesses, bankruptcies, suicides, riots, and social media wars.
Face it, it’s been a crazy, confusing, and potentially depressing year.
Now there’s hope on the horizon…. allegedly. The new “va**ine” is being either touted as the savior of the world, or feared as a conspiracy to rid the planet of half its population.
So we have yet another controversy fanning the flames of hatred among us.
People getting the injections are called “guinea pigs” by those who won’t, while those who rolled up their sleeves are enraged at the “anti-vax” people, blaming them for delays in getting us back to “normal.”
People asking questions, instead of getting reasonable, well-documented answers, are simply being “cancelled” and looked upon as trouble makers. Physicians who have practiced medicine for decades are being blocked on social media by anonymous “fact checkers.”
What am I trying to say here? … Good question.
I’m saying that everything that has been happening for the past year and a half is way more complicated than “If you wear a mask, you’re a good person who cares about others. If you don’t, you’re a scumbag.” Since when do we have the right – or the ability – to judge other people’s hearts?
To many, a healthy lifestyle involves more than avoiding microbes. Emotional health is also vital – enjoyable activities, human contact, meaningful relationships, creativity, and learning new things. Bodies are weakened not only by germs, but by fear, stress, rage, isolation, loneliness, sadness/depression, and hopelessness. We will never know how much damage was done in the past year to people driven to the breaking point by both the virus and the “solutions.” Children especially don’t need more fighting to add to the stress.
I certainly don’t have definitive answers to any of the myriad questions, and there are people way smarter than I am on all sides of the debates. But here’s what I do know:
CHRISTIANS, THIS IS OUR BIG CHANCE!
While the rest of the world is screaming at one another about masks and shots, election fraud, who’s lying and whos’ gullible, who doesn’t care about others and who’s virtue signaling, here are a few things we can do to stand out from the others, to represent Christ well:
- Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. When you see people wearing masks, assume those people believe they are doing what’s best for the people around them, and respect that choice. If they seem to be glaring at you, assume that underneath those masks their mouths are smiling – and smile back. Assume people who don’t wear masks have their reasons. Don’t waste emotional energy being angry.
- Treat everyone with the respect you would want. If someone seems nervous about getting near you, keep your distance. If you‘re nervous, keep your distance. If people have a different opinion from yours, assume they simply have a different perspective, which they arrived at honestly.
- Refuse to get sucked into an argument (See scripture above.), especially considering it’s highly unlikely at this point that you will change anyone’s mind, even if you were 100% right about everything. (Trust me, you’re not.)
- Priorities! “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” While educated, sincere, passionate people debate political issues and social problems with no perfect answers, believers in Jesus Christ can be confident about one assignment: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” – Mark 16:15-16 There is only one decision people will make that affects their eternal destiny. Everything else is details. Don’t squander your credibility arguing over lesser things.
- Remember God is greater. Nothing can happen to you without His permission, and He loves you. He loves your children more than you do. He has more power over lives than any disease. His kingdom is greater than any political party, and it is forever. We don’t have to be burdened with judging anyone – in fact, we’re told not to. He knows hearts, and He will judge everyone justly.
Even if God has called you to battle in a certain area of social or political change, while you’re “fighting the good fight,” you can still stand out with a Christ-like attitude.
We should be the most unconditionally loving people on the planet. We should be staying joyful in the middle of everyone else’s angst.
People will notice. They’ll notice, because grace in these times takes more than human effort and being “right.” It takes supernatural help, the kind we get only from our Savior.
Time is short. People are lost. We have the answer!
Now’s the time to stand out.
LET’S DO IT!
Prayer: Jesus, help us, especially in these times, to be more like You – in the world, but not of the world. Make us a reflection of Your love, extending to everyone Your invitation to eternal life. In Your name, amen