I hesitate to write on this topic, at the risk of ostracizing anyone. I hope that if you happen to disagree, you won’t just write me off based on one article, tossing out everything else I have written. Nonetheless, I weighed the cost and concluded that I must share on this issue with fellow believers in Christ.
Also, I do not believe this to be a matter of politics, though some how made it to be such. To me, this is about believers choosing to represent Christ and His love to those around us in response to something happening in our world which affects everyone.
Remember that our passion for Christ is shown in practical ways and in every aspect of our lives. This includes how we respond to current events and in how we show love for others.
As you read this article, I pray that you will come to understand how these things relate to our passion for the Lord.
“Christians in a pandemic need to be graciously shepherded to faithfulness through the hardship, not encouraged with false narratives which, if acted upon, could ultimately lead to the spread of the virus and increase deaths in their own communities.”— Pastor D.J. Jenkins
Masks and Our Christian Witness
I recently read a post on Twitter that greatly saddened me. The person mentioned that if someone will not wear a mask to keep their neighbor from dying, that person should not bother talking to them about God either.
Many believers—even whole church congregations—refuse to wear masks for one reason or another. In this, they seem to miss the effect this choice has on those around us. This has both perplexed and saddened me, especially as I see the effect such actions have on unbelievers.
When we choose not to wear a mask, we not only endanger others’ physical health, we communicate lack of love and care to those around us. This in turn affects our witness for Christ for the sake of the Gospel.
How? Just as the Twitter user above mentions, they don’t want to hear about God from someone who cannot make this simple sacrifice for the good of others. And if we cannot do so, how could they believe our words when we speak to them of Christ?
Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves includes taking necessary precautions to protect the lives of the people around us who are also made in the image of God.Tweet
Do we really want to be responsible for adversely affecting our witness for Christ in such a small matter of inconvenience, by putting our rights, concerns and ideas about this tissue above loving others? We must ask ourselves if how we choose to act in this matter truly reflects God’s love to those in need of the Savior.
Objections to Wearing a Mask?
Some say they are not effective, but this is not true. Others believe wearing a mask is acting in fear rather than faith. Again, not always true; choosing wisdom is not the same as being fearful. We should all brush our teeth, right? Does doing so mean we don’t have faith that our oral health will be good? Likewise, wearing a face covering protects us and those around us regardless of how we feel about it.
Other assert that the pandemic itself is just being exploited by media and seem to write off doing their part because of this or other conspiracy-type reasons.
But put yourself in someone else’s shoes: What if you were the one suffering months-long, lingering health issues from COVID-19 despite being healthy prior to the initial viral infection? What if it was you who had lost a loved one? What if someone in your community is a nurse in a hospital caring for the patients who are suffering and asks you to do your part, explaining what they’ve seen firsthand?
Above all, our call is not to live by our opinions of how things are or aren’t in this world, but to seek Scripture and seek to obey God’s call to love others through even this time. If we do not, we may greatly damage our witness for Christ as illustrated earlier in this post.
Some further object to masks because of concern that our toleration of such a mandate will open us up to further government control. But wearing a mask is not a sin. There is a place to draw the line as Christians—such as if something was required in the future that required us to disobey our Maker. Are masks that line? Definitely not.
The Word of God even calls us to obey rulers and authorities:
“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to slander no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing every consideration for all people.”Titus 3:1-2 (NASB)
This is for a short moment in time in comparison to eternity. Even more, this is no sacrifice when compared to the sacrifice Jesus paid for us in giving His life. When pitted against rightly representing Christ and loving our neighbors as ourselves, these reasons cannot hold their ground.
Choosing to wear a mask is nothing compared to the sacrifice Jesus paid for us in giving His life.Tweet
Denying Ourselves & Loving Our Neighbors
When we live for Christ, we are not called to simply do as we see fit. We are called to love Him by obeying His commandments (John 14:15). We are called to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Denying ourselves means we cannot just do whatever we want, instead we are called to consider others above ourselves:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.”Philippians 2:3 (CSB)
Denying ourselves especially includes loving our neighbors and family members alike. We walk this out not only in thought but in deed. Will we choose to do the simple chore of wearing a mask to protect them, thereby showing our love? Will we even be brave enough to share this truth when others, even Christian leaders, do not do so or require it in their church gatherings?
Those around us will come to know God’s love—or not—by our actions. Our actions may affect whether they even want to hear about God at all. The way we live our lives affects those around us whether we realize it or not. Above all, we are called to walk out God’s commandments of loving Him and our neighbors too.
Other Scriptures on This Topic: Philippians 2:3, 1 Peter 2:11-16, Romans 15:1, 1 John 3:17, Romans 13:1-4
Further Information: You may wonder about exceptions for some who can’t wear a mask, some believers calling this virus a hoax or some sort of conspiracy theory, or other things. Go to the end of this post for these questions and more.
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Because I know some may ask, I decided to add the following information. It is by no means complete or comprehensive, but I hope it helps.
Q: But what about people who can’t wear masks based on their age (children), due to trauma (PTSD), and/or physical, mental or neurological reasons?
A: I am not referring to those who don’t wear a mask due to these reasons.
Q: Isn’t this virus is a hoax or just a simple flu being used to spread fear by the media?
A: No, this virus is a real disease affecting real people.
Conspiracy theories are just that, theories that can’t be proved. For a Bible-based perspective on this topic, read this excellent, thorough article written by a pastor’s wife that I know.
I suggest connecting with people who have had the virus (and had symptoms), have lost loved ones to the virus, or nurses and doctors working in hospitals. Perhaps talk with those who are still facing long-term symptoms even after recovering from the initial illness. Do a web search about the effects the virus is having on blood vessels and clotting.
Real life stories show us trials people have actually faced and remind us that we need to do our part as believers representing Christ in this world. If you don’t know anyone who has had the virus or long-term issues due to it, be thankful, but also consider reading individuals’ testimonies online such as this one from a doctor in a critical care unit.
Q: But I heard masks don’t make a big difference.
A: Masks do make a difference. They are not perfect, but they help stop the larger droplets of saliva and such that can carry the smaller virus particles. If it didn’t help, medical professionals would be sick from all sorts of things even before the pandemic began. Check out this article and another more recent article here.
Increasing cases can mean hospitals are overwhelmed and unable to help people with other types of emergencies that arise. This is why we must do what we can to help, e.g. wearing masks to help prevent the spread and not taking our guard down even with family who do not live in our own house, no matter how well we know them.
6 thoughts on “Christian in a Pandemic: Face Masks and Loving Our Neighbors”
You handled this touchy topic so well! It’s crazy to me that wearing a mask has become politicized, but it has. Sigh. Our community leaders have practically begged us all to put on masks because our hospitals are stretched so thin and our morgues are about to be also. 😦 Wearing a mask is such a small price to pay for a few months to keep people alive for years to come. Thanks for handling this with such grace. Glad you linked it at Grace & Truth on Friday!
Thanks so much, Lisa! Your comments encourage me that in the midst of a surprise number of believers who won’t wear a mask, there are still other believers who do, as well as seeing the importance of it both in showing how we love and protect those around us and in helping the medical professionals and hospitals alike. Blessings!
What a challenging topic to write about. I love the way you looked at Scripture for how we should act. Do it for those of us who are clinically vulnerable.
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Yes, exactly! Thank you so much for your comments.
‘When pitted against rightly representing Christ and loving our neighbors as ourselves, these reasons cannot hold their ground’ – very well said. I hadn’t even thought that some people might be put off Christianity because some believers aren’t wearing face masks but you’ve explained it so well. Great post.
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Thank you so much, Wemi!
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