Never have I experienced hate from a complete stranger like I did yesterday. Let me explain:
I was on a field trip with my two homeschooling children. We did all the right things: kept our distance from people, wore our masks, and respected the rules.
While walking from room to room, sometimes we had to pass other people. This is life. It just so happened that as my child was rounding the corner to use the bathroom and I tried to follow him, an older gentleman ahead of us suddenly backed up into me. We collided and he stumbled forward.
At this point all the manners I have been taught from childhood on took hold and I reached out to help the man and ask if he was all right. He had bumped into the side wall and was shaking slightly, but he held out his hand and looked at me with angry eyes. Then he began to shout, “Stay away from me! Back off! Get away!”
At first I hesitated, confused at his overreaction. But then it dawned on me: He was not seeing me as a person, but as a potential COVID-19 carrier.
I was near him, so he was angry.
I backed up before he could physically push me away and he shook his fist as I turned to leave.
And it really struck me that this was not the only situation like this. In fact, there was another lady that was at the same field trip that day who had a kid come up to her and ask her a question, but the mother of that child cut her off, saying in a loud voice: “DISTANCE!”
Or my cousin who was at IKEA when she saw a lady tip her cart and the contents spilled out. As she approach to help, the lady also yelled at her to get back.
These are just three situations that I have personally heard about, but I guarantee that there are many more.
Are we really that dense… That we’ve come to believe that THIS is “loving”?
People think THIS is beneficial?
We are getting it preached at us day in and day out. To care for people, one must:
– keep their distance from others
-refrain from gathering
-cover their face and nose
-lock up the weak and elderly
Where’s the call from our leaders about helping each other out? Where’s the mandate about showing kindness? And for those like to say “Christians are SO judgemental!” …Are they not the very ones judging by mere appearances when they see a face without a mask and assume the worst? That the person must be lazy, ignorant or selfish?
Not all people can easily wear them! You or I might be able to, but not everyone can! In fact, I would have no problem with wearing a mask and keeping my distance, if it weren’t for these things changing people so much!
It is. It’s changing us.
I used to chat and laugh with total strangers as I shopped. Now we all avoid eye contact and hurry about with our heads down.
All to control something we CAN’T.
Do you hear that? We cannot control sickness!! Maybe it is time we stop trying to play God.
Maybe it’s time to realize that while there are steps we can take to try to keep our health care systems from becoming overwhelmed, sickness is an unfortunate part of life.
We cannot control viruses. They will run their course, and we need to do our best, yes, to wash and stay home while sick. But for the love of God, we need to stop this insanity!!
We are a ‘civilized society’, and yet we have gone back to yelling at total strangers “Unclean! Unclean!”
Interestingly enough, I’ve never heard anyone condone the treatment of lepers in Bible times. These men and women were outcasts of society. They went about deformed and socially ostracized. They also got told to “Stay Back!!” They had to socially distance every single day of their lives.
Yet, to the horror of the Pharisees, there was one person who did not fear the disease they carried: Jesus.
He didn’t see a disease, he saw a PERSON.
“A man with leprosy came to Jesus and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus was filled with compassion. He reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was clean.” (Mark 1:40-42)
Not only did Jesus see an ‘unclean’ person, he did the unthinkable… he TOUCHED that person.
Can you imagine what would happen if Jesus lived today? Oh horror of horrors!
“He’s spreading COVID! He must hate people!!”
That’s what the Pharisees of today would say. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself:
“The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders…) 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is devoted to God—12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”
What Jesus was saying here is that the word of God should ALWAYS take precedence over our human rules. Therefore, if obeying my government means loving people, I should most definitely obey the rules. BUT if the rules get in the way of loving people, I am to lay aside the rules and follow God first.
Today, I’m choosing to obey my government by following the rules because, mostly, they ARE loving.
I’m choosing to love people by trying to keep them safe, to wear masks in public buildings and to keep my germs to myself. I choose to obey and stay within the current restrictions for gatherings. I choose to stay home when I am feeling unusually sick.
However, I also choose to love them, even if it looks like taking my mask off so a deaf person can read my lips, or picking up groceries another has spilled or helping an elderly man who has fallen. I choose to smile and say hi to those around me and treat them with decency… Whether they wear masks or no masks, or vote liberal or conservative!
In this way, I recognize that a virus can not and will not defile me. I choose to SEE people, to love them, and to not fear being near them.
No, COVID-19 will not defile you. But fear and bitterness will.