Finding the reason: warrants, masks, vaccinations and how Christians treat each other
By Jeff Adams
This scourge continues to disrupt our lives. We’re in our second year, and just when we thought things were getting better, we slammed it with more negativity. Parts of Washington are already back on a “shelter-in-place” order (eg, Neah Bay). The state continues to push hospitals to diagnose patients with COVID-19 with taxpayer dollars we’ve already spent. New mandates on COVID-19 vaccinations for state employees must now include school staff – public and private. Parents are resisting continued mandates of masks for their children in schools. Many government employees scramble to figure out how they can withstand vaccination mandates. Lawmakers are resuming the fight. Friendships also break down on strong opinions about these mandates. While the pandemic has once divided us, it does so even more now.
Our prisons are seeing an increase in the number of cases. The hospitals are almost full. It seems that more and more people are suffering from it and many of them have been vaccinated.
As recently as last week, the preacher who held a position less than a year ago at one of our area churches died of complications from COVID-19. Almost 25 people I normally work with have it right now (No, I haven’t been exposed to it after their exposure. Yes, I’ve been tested twice, since their diagnosis.)
All of my in-laws had it. My sister and her husband had it. Several church members I worshiped with several weeks ago accepted it. Some of our own YCS staff have it right now. One of our former YCS staff is currently struggling in the hospital with this. I have known several other people who have had it and a few others who have died from it.
Even so, the worst may not be just ailments, illnesses and deaths. No, the associated constraints continue to take their toll, according to some. We let our stress on things related to this pandemic divide us further.
Some people who think vaccination is a good thing see those who disagree as stupid and selfish. Some people who think vaccination is a bad thing judge those who disagree as stupid sheep helping to destroy our country. We have continued to let our favorite cable news or social media sites dictate our beliefs and cling to them while rejecting longtime friends and family. That’s a shame.
Look, I got my second vaccination in February. I’m not sure it was the best idea, but I saw it as a way to at least appear to be taking precautions while doing pastoral duties, like baptizing, in this prolonged plague. People were begging to be baptized, so I figured that if I was vaccinated and wore all the proper PPE, I could safely perform my religious duties.
Even though I’m vaccinated, I don’t like government-mandated vaccinations. Even though I don’t like government-mandated vaccinations, I don’t think it’s necessarily wise to risk personal and family financial security because of a vaccine, especially when you’ve worked for years to get yourself. build a retreat that might not be available if there is a refusal to get vaccinated.
Now that I’ve shared my opinion (which I don’t pretend to be fair, I could very well be wrong) people are going to judge me. I feel like since getting vaccinated I have taken a precaution that potentially puts others to safety. I could be wrong. I certainly don’t want to be part of a growing government or an authoritarian government. I do not in any way support the penchant for socialism, Marxism or communism. Yet people will judge me as doing just that.
Christians, can we start loving one another again (1 John 2: 7-10)? Can we start seeing others again as better than ourselves (Philippians 2: 3)? Can we re-embrace the attributes of love: patience, kindness, hope, etc. (1 Corinthians 13)? Can we stop passing such judgment on others (Matthew 7: 1)? Can we stop acting like non-Christians (Romans 12: 1-2)? Can we show the world a better way? The times are bad enough without Christians behaving badly. What are you saying? Will you do your part to uplift others, rather than bring them down (1 Thessalonians 5:11)?
“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. – 1 Corinthians 12:26, ESV
Pastor Jeff Adams is a professional Christian counselor who travels the world to teach but serves our community. His column appears online every week. He can be reached by email at [email protected]