I am hearing it from every which way. Left. Right. Up. Down. Sideways. Side door. Front door. Back door. I am sure you are too.
Church members in Tennessee are asking.
Church members I pastored in Arkansas and Louisiana are asking.
Friends and family in Alabama are asking.
“What should we do and/or think about masks and vaccines?” Or, “What’s the right thing to do here?” Or, “Bro. Matt, I don’t know what to think or who do believe! What should I do?”
Ready for my highly educated and elaborate answer? “I don’t know.” (Impressive, right?)
Seriously. I don’t know. I don’t know who to believe or what is accurate or whether or not getting the vaccine will cause a growth on your big toe in ten years. I don’t know.
But here is what I do know: I do know it is wrong to mask your opinion in biblical language that shames another. It is wrong to use God and the Bible to belittle someone. It is wrong to proudly declare, “I trust God!” when the truth is you really just don’t want to wear a mask. Many declaring how much they trust God (so as not to wear a mask or get the vaccine) are the same ones who keep a gun by their bed and take an Aspirin every night. Let that sink in for a moment. Listen – I get it. I have blind spots and inconsistencies in my life, too. For those wanting/supporting masks and/or vaccines and for those against ’em – I get it. Both sides have strong arguments and cases for/against. But as followers of Christ Jesus, we simply cannot allow verses and Bible and God to rail against or embarrass or shame someone. That is not the way of Jesus.
Come to think of it, aren’t followers of Jesus to be known for their love? Aren’t followers of the Christ to do for others what Christ did for us? Shouldn’t the question be “what is the most loving thing for me to do for my neighbor?” Perhaps we are getting the questions wrong. Perhaps we are forgetting the force behind everything we do. Perhaps we are, ultimately, demonstrating we really don’t trust God. Aren’t those who authentically trust the Lord free to give their lives for the good of their neighbor? Arrogantly claiming our trust in God reveals we really don’t trust in God. It unveils a maddening determination to be right.
One who walks with God and possesses the Spirit of Jesus has everything they want and need. They don’t have to be right. They don’t have to wonder about their future. They are free to do what they are put on the planet to do: love one another.
Should you wear a mask? Should you get the vaccine? Should you comply if mandated? I DON’T KNOW.
I do know you should pray for wisdom (we’re promised He’ll give it).
I do know you should obey the Lord with the knowledge you have been given and the convictions you embody.
I do know you should constantly ask, “what is the most loving thing to do for my neighbor?”
You still may get a growth on your big toe in ten years. But I believe God will honor and be glorified through these intentions.