No One and Everyone

What are a Christian’s relationship to society at large? I know that in the church we are to “love one another” just as Christ loves us. We are to treat one another as brothers and sisters. That being said, I have to say a few words.

Today the mandate for wearing masks in public was put in force by the most high and benevolent Lord and Master Beshear. In his great love for the people of our beloved Commonwealth, and in spite of his own need for freedom, he has unilaterally ordered that all people must wear masks in public to further prevent already declining virulence of COVID-19. This was not an order in force when the virus was at its height, but now when the actual threat is diminishing. COVID-19 has indicated that it is no more dangerous than the flu, and even less so, as it kills less people than the flu. However, that is not the point. The point is what this verse says about this mandate.

“Always seek to do good to one another and to everyone”. If this is a command from Scripture, then it is non-negotiable. Today, because of our beloved leader’s order, our own church, arguably a private organization and free to resist orders of the state within its own walls when it conflicts with worship (Freedom to exercise religion is still in effect) decided to take the path of least resistance. Our church has not opened back up since March, relying completely on online services, which I believe is to the detriment. Many other churches in our area have reopened, and we have been attending them. Our church has decided that mask-wearing will be mandatory for all attenders and volunteers. And it frankly peeves me. I have to wear a mask every day I work (at the hospital, whose own mask-requirement is about a month old). I have been told that masks are important, but the principles of wearing masks to stop COVID infection are ludicrous. I have been asymptomatic for months. I have no droplets to spread COVID. If I was sick, I would stay home in quarantine. I am not sick.

If I had AIDS, and I knew I had AIDS, and then went about spitting on people in order to infect them, that would be intentionally doing harm and would be reprehensible. COVID is not AIDS. COVID is so much less lethal than AIDS (0.05% versus 100%) as to not even be comparable. Who is out there saying we need to wear masks because of AIDS? Tuberculosis? Pneumonia? Flu? Measles? Small Pox? Anything? Not one. For none of these diseases (not even the dreaded Ebola just a few years ago) have entire states been forced to wear masks. Read that again. Only with COVID-19, are far less lethal virus, who for many, the only way you know you have it is if you have a test (which tests for all Corona viruses, not just 19), have entire states been told they have to wear masks in public.

If the glorious leader had said, “You can wear masks if you feel you need them,” then freedom would be left in the hands of the individual. I would be okay with that. If he said, “Stay at home is you feel sick.” That would be find with me. That’s how we treat every other disease. But this state mandate?

Some will say that we ought to wear the masks to help people feel safer. That we will appear to be doing good. I’ve seen the masks people wear. I don’t buy it. I wear the mask all the time. I don’t like it. So when it comes to my church mandating masks for worship?

There is one passage in Scripture which speaks to an issue like this. It is a passage in 1 Corinthians which suggests that believers who are more mature ought to make concessions for those that are weak for the sake of unity. For the sake of unity, even though I despise it, I will wear a mask if it means that we will worship together again. If modesty says I need to keep certain parts of my body covered, then covering one more part will not matter. As angry as I am with all of this, if it hurts my brother in Christ by not wearing a mask, I remember that I have made other concessions for the sake of unity, concessions dearer to my heart than this one.

What about my brother who says it hurts him for me to wear a mask? I can only plead unity.

My Lord and My God, King of Kings and Governor of Governors, may You grant me the patience to deal with my weaker brothers for the sake of unity. I know I don’t have it yet, but for the sake of my fellowship and where I worship, I feel this is the path of “do good to everyone”. Father if there is greater wisdom, please teach me. For I trust in You and Your word above all else. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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