I know this subject has been a hot topic for the past year, but I heard some disturbing news this past week and “wearing/not wearing the mask” was the spark. First and foremost, I have served this nation in defending our freedom. However, if individual’s rights jeopardize others’ freedom or wellbeing, then that is no longer a free nation. After all, we are not individual nations, but we are “One Nation, Under GOD”.
In a phone call with a colleague, she revealed that her family was questioning their religion. Since religion is a man-made system, I have on many occasions “shook my head” at the actions/reactions of my Baptist heritage. But this news was alarming because this family is so involved with their church, even singing in the praise band before the congregation every Sunday. So what caused this line of questioning and prompted their family to examine their religious involvement? You guessed it, the mask wearing (or lack thereof) choices of our fellow Christians.
Who would have guessed a year ago, that wearing a mask (or not) could tear churches apart? This issue seems so basic, almost childish. This doesn’t involve church politics or feuding families or biblical differences. This comes down to individuals choices, yet for Christians (Christ-Like) is this our choice? Thus the question “Would Jesus wear a mask?”
I feel strong in my answer, but let us look at three Biblical teachings from Jesus to convey His answer to the question.
First, Jesus taught us to honor authority and comply for the sake of others. I know what you are going to say, “Jesus was a rebel and He fought against the authority of His time”. However if we read Matthew 22:16-22, we will read how the Pharisees were trying to “entangle” Jesus and how Jesus answers them with ““Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Even more apropos is Luke 17:11-14, where the ten lepers (their COVID) asked from afar (social distancing) for Jesus to have Mercy on them. Jesus cured them and told them to present themselves to the Priests (authority). Notice the Bible does not say Jesus walked up to the Lepers and touched them, but instead Jesus cured them from afar. In addition, Jesus did not tell them to go about their business, for they were cured. But instead asked them to present themselves to the Priests to confirm their cleansing (as was the requirements of the day). Jesus clearly is teaching us to work within the system by complying with authority while helping others.
Secondly, Jesus tells us to love one another and demonstrate compassion for our brothers. In reading Matthew 22:34-40, we once again see the Pharisees testing Jesus by asking “What is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus replies by saying “You should love your GOD first and love your neighbor second”. On these two commandments are the bases of all biblical teachings. I read this to say, “If you love GOD, then you love everyone”. This seems Christian fundamental to help others, yet are we helping others if we will not comply with the safety protocols mandated by authorities? Over the past year, I have heard others describe those with “medical conditions” as being in their condition due to bad choices. That if a person is overweight and their immune system is not a strong, then that “is on them” if they can’t survive this pandemic. That if we would just get everyone infected, then we would all become immune (herd immunity) and this pandemic would be over. But at what sacrifice? Are we saying it’s okay that a 23 year-old woman can die of this virus because she had a rare lung disorder that she never knew she had? In John 8:2-11, Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees with an adulterous woman and reminds Him of GOD’s Law of Moses on the matter (as if they needed to teach Jesus on GOD’S LAW). Even though this woman was clearly guilty in their eyes, Jesus challenged them all to their own status of sin and showed her compassion by not judging her with the law. We need to stop judging others and start loving everyone with compassion. For in John 3:17 we are reminded, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved”.
Third, Jesus tells us to let your light shine and let them see your good works. In reading Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus is reminding us that we are His representatives and we should be a beacon for everyone looking for a way out of the darkness. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are no longer your own and have sold your life to Christ. Our witness is not only in words, but in our actions we take in His (not your) daily life. In Matthew 25:44-45, Jesus reminds us that when we don’t help the least of us then we have not helped Jesus. As someone saved by Grace, we should be saving everyone from the “lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). This is what “wearing a mask” is all about in my eyes. It is not the inconvenience of breathing through a filter. It is not the injustice of being told by authority to comply with safety measures. It is not about you!
In reading Romans 15:1-6, I feel Paul writes the answer to our earlier question. For those who are strong (well) should help the weak and not please ourselves. We are reminded that GOD is patient and provides us comfort, that we maybe like-minded for everyone. We must humble ourselves before GOD and do for others by showing them love and compassion through our actions and our words. Please don’t write YOUR opinions on social media. For as a Christian, you no longer have an opinion independent of GOD’S WORD. In regards to my story earlier in this writing, it is the words being tossed in social media by church members that is turning this family and some others away. STOP IT! Don’t you see the Prince of Darkness is using this to drive us apart? Be the representative of Christ and start praying and stop typing.
Thank you Jesus for teaching us how to deal with COVID and how to treat others. PRAISE BE TO GOD!!