We are living through times like have not been seen for decades. To be sure, there have been pandemics in the past to include the Polio epidemic in the first half of the 18th century (1900’s), and the Black Death (Plague) which visited Europe and Asia in the 1300’s. Most recently we’ve seen the Ebola-virus run rampant in Africa. In fact, Susan and I were diverted from Sierra Leone, our first choice, when we deployed for missions to West Africa in 2016, and were sent instead to Ghana to avoid Ebola.
What motivates this article for our May Newsletter is the protests now taking place to re-open our businesses and economy in the USA and World-wide. We see News articles with people protesting outside governor’s mansions and the Whitehouse. Nobody is wearing masks or taking any precautions to avoid spreading COVID-19. Many people don’t seem to be thinking of what will happen to their elderly relatives, and others with compromised immune systems, if they catch COVID-19 and pass it on in the family. The main thoughts put forward seem to revolve around motivated self-interest.
Nobody will argue that we need to make a living so that we can purchase necessities for our families and loved ones. But at what cost? And how should we as Christians view, and deal with, this pandemic? What is our motivation for re-opening the country and its economy? How are we informed and guided in our decisions as such by our Christian faith?
History speaks to us through movements like the USA Eugenics movement; this movement focused on eliminating negative traits in our population. Not surprisingly, “undesirable” traits were perceived concentrated in poor, uneducated, and minority populations. Evolutionary thought, with its belief in natural selection and survival of the fittest, is not much more than a hands-off model of eugenics which say’s “let nature take its course.” And then there is Utilitarianism which is a doctrine which teaches that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority; but which shows little regard for the care of minority groups, many of which rely on the majority to protect them. Then there is Atheism, which teaches that there is no God and which ultimately makes us into our own god and decision maker. There is Hedonism, which puts personal pleasure as the highest cause; and there is the abortion movement which focuses on the right of a mother to choose over the right of the unborn child to life. I’m not sure that I want to trust the lives of myself and my loved ones to someone who wants to play god, puts pleasure first, or puts anyone’s personal right to choice over the intrinsic value bestowed on human life by our God. So many options and yet they all have the same central motivation or focus, and that is on “Me” and “My desires or best interests.” Now where exactly do we think these life philosophies will lead us and how will they take into account our neighbors? Will these life philosophies lead us to love our neighbors or put ourselves before all others? Are the demonstrators manning the picket lines, in protest to national and state polices which regarding COVID-19 and the closedown of some work places, truly giving thought to the safety and protection of others, especially the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.? This idea, that we just need to let COVID-19 run its course unchecked, and to cull the herd, and accept the loss of human life which results “as acceptable loss”, shows no love for others, and does not value God’s gift of life or protect the weak. The Bible says:
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. –Proverbs 31:8-9
The Bible also says;
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. –Matthew 22:37b-39
Praise and thank our God that this wasn’t His approach to humanity and our problem with, sin, death and Satan. Jesus said, when speaking of His own up-coming death on the cross for sinners, but also as an example for His followers to emulate;
13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. –John 15:13
Just as a Caveat, let me say that a concern not dealt with in this article would be that of possible mass starvation. Let me also say that we do need to reopen our economy at some point. Hopefully we can do so safely and put in place counter-measures to protect those who need our protection. We need to do so with love and compassion for those who are weaker, for our neighbors.