The other day, I saw a post from the ever flamboyant Pastor Greg Locke. This outspoken pastor was refusing to allow other people to dictate how he and his people do church!
Good for him! Pastor Greg is right to stand up to the bullying tactics used to intimidate churchgoers.
I do have one issue, though. It’s not directed at Pastor Greg Locke. It is what I saw in the comments associated with his post. It angered me to see people shaming others because of wearing a mask. What is with the shaming? Why is it so hard to think of others, as per Philippians 2:3-4? I invite you to listen to the podcast episode and continue reading.
Here is what’s bothering me. I do not need the State of New Jersey to tell me, to wear a mask. Why? It is not because I am a rebel or anything else. I am already open to wearing a mask because of concerns for my neighbors. Should I not think of other people, as per Philippians 2:3-4?
3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.Philippians 2:3-4 [NASB]
No, I do not have any of the factors that place me in the high-risk category and I do have a strong immune system. So, I do not have any reasons to be afraid of contracting COVID-19. What about my neighbors? They do not necessarily have a strong immune system. Should I not be considerate of their needs?
Being thoughtful is not the same thing as living in fear! Do you know that it is good to go outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine? If not you should read “Get sunshine and fresh air while sheltering in place“. The article is published by a medical school at Ohio State University.
You can’t enjoy the fresh air and sunshine if you are a prisoner of your own home! The sick and the healthy do need to go outside and walk in the open air and soak in the sunshine. What about social interaction? Almost every day, I go for my morning walk and I don’t wear a mask. It’s the open air and I’m by myself.
Sometimes, I will come across a neighbor or two. Out of consideration, I do maintain social distance and say “Hello”. A short conversation can be the best thing in the world for the neighbor and I. The only time I wear a mask is in visiting inside someone’s home or going into a store. The first one is a case by case situation.
How does this relate to the topic of shaming people who are living in fear or refuse to wear a mask? I’ve had wonderful conversations with my neighbors and rarely seen anyone walking in judgment. Many of my neighbors are Christians and probably read or heard of Romans 14:1-4.
14 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master, he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.Romans 14:1-4 [NASB]
Do you understand what Paul is saying? We are not to walk in judgment on people who choose to wear a mask! Did you notice that Paul went both ways? Yes, it works both ways! They are not to walk in judgment of people who do not wear masks.
Shaming someone will not help the person overcome their fears or address their concern. Let’s stop with the ridiculing and help each other! How are we showing the love of God, the Father by shaming someone? Have you not heard? Have you not read?
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.1 John 4:18 [NASB]
Let’s stop partnering with the merchants of fear and hatred! Let’s partner with Jesus! Let’s partner with the perfect love of God, the Father. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us in walking in the fruits of the Spirit! Do you recall what they are?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23 [NASB]