Are you offended when you see individuals in the grocery store who aren’t wearing masks? Or are you offended by having to wear a mask at all?
Do you occasionally make exceptions to the restrictions by visiting family and friends? Or do you fume against those who dare to visit loved ones during a lockdown?
Brothers and sisters, it’s time to stop casting stones!
No one – not one person, not one Christian – in all the earth can know the entire truth of what is happening in our world, except Jesus.
No one knows the heart of the person next to you, except that person themselves and God.
No one can fully understand the motives behind another Christian’s actions, how they choose to respond to the crisis that our world is in. No one but God.
It’s time to admit we don’t have all the answers. It’s also time to take responsibility for our actions and convictions by searching our hearts, searching the Scriptures, and appealing to the Holy Spirit for guidance.
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.Daniel 9:3
Christians in the World
The world’s defense mechanism against fear and pain is to take offense. The Christian’s defense is to drop to his knees in prayer.
The world’s strategy against disunity is to separate the masses into groups of “obey-ers” and “violators.” The Christian’s strategy is to strive for common ground.
The world’s failsafe in times of chaos is to follow the majority. The Christian’s failsafe is to test everything (with the help of the Holy Spirit) in order to discern what is good and true.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2 ESV
Charity, Not Criticism
Are there Christian brothers and sisters who serve in the military to accomplish the important work of protecting us? Yes! Are there Christian brothers and sisters who hold fast to pacifism in accordance with their consciences? Yes!
God calls us to different missions and gives us special graces.
Who can understand God’s unfathomable methods? Who can understand why he convicts one person to fight and one person to lay down in submission?
We must extend charity to one another, not criticism. We must not judge those who are in favor of Covid-19 restrictions, nor those who feel convicted to fight the restrictions.
We are one Body. We are all sinners needing grace. Not one of us has a perfectly clear vision or answer for these times. Each individual is acting in accordance with what their conscience tells them. They are trying to please God.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us will give an account of himself to GodRomans 14:10-12 ESV
Tool of Discernment
There is division (the work of our enemy) in our world. Yes, even among brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet, we are not without hope!
Each Christian holds the gift of Jesus Christ’s Spirit within him/her to guide and to teach what is right. Now is the time for each of us to seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Now is the time to cut off the evil spirit of division and to ask God’s forgiveness for our judgment upon others.
And our God is faithful! When we seek him, he will teach us all things and show us his mission for our lives. He will clarify our convictions when we are humble and willing to hear his voice.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.John 14:26 ESV
Hope for the Future
Let’s lay down our offenses. Let’s bless those who have cursed us and belittled our decisions. Let’s extend grace and love and forgiveness. Let’s pray for wisdom and knowledge to discern the times.
And in all things, let’s give thanks to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ who was willing to pay it all, willing to sacrifice everything for us.
We are loved! We are treasured! Yes, we will make mistakes, but Christ’s blood has covered each sin, even the sins of those who have offended us. God loves them, too! He treasures them, too!
Lord, show us how to live in unity even when our convictions differ.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.2 Corintians 13:14 ESV
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(Also, if you haven’t already listened to Heather Difran’s Instagram video requesting a balanced approach to Covid-19 restrictions, and if you’re interested in hearing her message, you can access it here.)