COVID, vaccines, and Jesus19 Sep 2021 |
Over the last year and a half, I’ve stayed mostly quiet on the social front regarding the pandemic–mostly because I saw the fruitless and frustrated nature of these encounters, and I wanted no part of it. At this point, I’ve had conversations with people with a lot of varied opinions, the data has had time to settle, and I have clarified my own thoughts on the matter.
But that is not enough reason to enter the social media feeding frenzy. The reason for writing this is that the name of Jesus is being mocked and humiliated because of the acts and public words of those who claim to follow Him. If Christians are mocked for their sacrificial giving, generous hearts, recklessly self-endangering themselves to serve others, that would be good. In this country, that is not currently the case. Instead, Christians are publicly known for their blatant hatred for those they disagree with, obsession with self proclaimed freedoms, and disregard for their communities.
That is not the Jesus I know.
Carrying the honor of God
As followers of Jesus, it is our responsibility to represent Jesus to the world. When the world sees us, it should see Jesus. We are His ambassadors. This is a not a trite phrase for a coffee cup, this is a life-altering concept that should be part of our daily devotion to Him. When someone sees me acting worse than their friends, I betray the king I represent.
Following false teachers brings the way of truth into public shame. For context, Peter wrote to the churches about false teachers causing the way of truth to be maligned by outsiders.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions. They will even deny the Master who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Even so, many will follow their licentious ways, and because of these teachers the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced against them long ago, has not been idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 2 Peter 2:1-3
In Romans, Paul warned the church that they were responsible for outsiders blaspheming God because of their breaking of the law.
You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Romans 2:23-24
But what law, you ask? We’ve broken no law, we’re standing up for our rights.
Jesus made it very clear what should guide our actions if we chose to follow him. He even called it a command.
Love one another
When Jesus was preparing to leave his disciples, he gave them a simple, clear instruction to guide their decision making for after he was gone.
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35
Are you loving those around you by putting on a mask, getting a vaccine, caring for the sick, and providing for people who lost their jobs? Or are you self-seeking, demanding your rights, and when you eventually get sick, taking the hospital bed of someone who needed a surgery. In Idaho, medical care is being rationed because of the recklessness of people claiming to follow Jesus. This is not love. This is the opposite.
Paul wrote to Timothy about what makes a church complete, and echoed the words of Jesus to this young leader.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
Where is your source of truth?
One of the most contentious parts of this whole situation is identifying where someone gets their information. When I ask, I often get the answer, “I have sources.” which usually means they don’t have them or are ashamed to name them. Are they reputable? How did they come to it?
In Proverbs, wisdom and understanding come after diligent searching and seeking with the foundation of humility before God:
My child, if you accept my words
and treasure up my commandments within you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
if you indeed cry out for insight,
and raise your voice for understanding;
if you seek it like silver,
and search for it as for hidden treasures—
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
The Center for Disease Control is a non-political public health research agency with some of the worlds best doctors, scientists, and researchers.
The World Health Organization is an international public health organization with the goal of “the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health” and was a key player in the eradication of smallpox, near-eradication of polio, and the development of the ebola vaccine.
Over 4.55 Million people have died globally from covid, and now over 5.95 Billion doses of vaccines have been given. This is not a United States politics thing. This is a global health crisis. I have friends in Thailand who just received their vaccine because it is only now available to them–and they got it thankfully and gratefully.
On the other hand, some sensationalist talk show hosts have pushed wild conspiracy theories and caused the hospitalizations of many by suggesting that horse dewormers can cure covid. Please seek truth–read the research articles from respected scientists, not just articles that support what you already want to believe. Do health agencies make some mistakes or draw incorrect conclusions sometimes? Yes, but following their guidance is much wiser than your facebook friend’s cousin who found a mushroom cure.
Some red flags to look for:
- Does this source claim to be aligned with your political view? Medical research is vastly non-political.
- Does this source claim to be Christian? Medical research is vastly non-religious.
- Does this source claim secret knowledge or massively organized coverups? People in groups are really bad at keeping secrets for long, see Enron. They are likely selling you something.
Cut the poisonous inputs out of your life and find inputs that pushes you to think deeply, investigate openly, and humbly act in love.
When Joshua rallied Israel at the end of their time in the desert, he drew a line in the sand.
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15
Allow me to paraphrase: If serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, choose who you serve–your own personal freedoms, your political party, or your social group. My household will serve the LORD–by serving and protecting others, by humbly seeking truth, and by bringing honor to the name of Jesus.