Of Masks and Miles
I don't normally speak about what I consider to be "political" issues. But in my opinion, this mask vs freedom thing is a clear case decided by specific instruction in the Bible - not by political feelings - and I feel like I have to say something.
People worry that the requirements some are imposing about the wearing of masks is the beginning (or continuation) of the erosion of our Constitutional rights. And that may be the case.
But as Christians, I don't see how anyone can justify choosing not to wear a mask (when required) in the name of freedom and call it a Christian thing to do. I'm not saying that not wearing a mask is inherently wrong. If masks aren't required, and you choose not to wear a mask, I don't have any feelings about it at all. But choosing not to wear a mask as an act of defiance because it violates our rights is incontrovertably NOT what Jesus said to do.
He said if someone forces you to go a mile, to go two. He said if someone sues you for your shirt, give them your coat as well. He told slaves to obey their masters. He said render to Caesar what is Caesar's. If someone forces, sues, orders, taxes you, Jesus says do it, pay it, go beyond their unreasonable, unfair, difficult, inconvenient, hurtful, rights-violating request and love your enemy. If they ask you to wear a mask, wear gloves, too, in other words, and do it with a smile.
Paul praises believers for joyfully accepting the plundering of their property because knew that they had a better possession and an abiding one. This world is not our home, in other words.
In these, and so many other instances, the thing being asked is always injurious or harmful or unfair to the person it's being asked of, and yet the Bible tells us to do it and endure it joyfully. Not to revolt and rebel against it.
Most of us can't say that wearing masks is, in and of itself, harmful to us. I'm aware that some may have some negative physical or emotional reactions. I'm not a big fan of it myself. But in this case, we're being asked to wear masks to protect other people.
If we're supposed to go along even something is injurious to us, don't you think Christ would say to go along with something that is 1) not (normally) injurious PLUS 2) is potentially helping others stay healthy? Is there any question when you look at it biblically? In our American culture, we've grown so accustomed to our "rights," we've begun to elevate them over - or even confuse them with - the lessons taught in the Beatitudes: be meek, poor in spirit, be merciful, peacemakers. Blessed are those who are persecuted!
And wearing masks is in NO WAY persecution. At worst, wearing a mask is going the extra mile we'd rather not, which Jesus explicitly says to do.
Is it eroding the Constitution? Maybe. Is that more important than following Jesus? NO.
Go the extra mile. Wear the mask.
If this blog encouraged you, consider sharing with the links at the bottom of the post.
Interested in updates on my bookish wanderings and adventures?
You'll get the first chapter of each of my books free (even my work-in-progress!)