Let me take you back to a time when people argued about politics or religion from opposite views, and it wasn’t heated.
Oh, wait, that time never existed.
We humans are prone to strong opinions about lots of topics. The more controversial the issue, the more passionate we become and the uglier it often gets. I wrote about what I consider is a godly response to relating to others who disagree with us here.
Obviously, the current hot topics are about the Covid shot and the recent mask mandate.
My poor phone is exhausted from the high number of texts that go something like this:
- It will be a cold day in hell before I allow the government to force me to take the Covid shot!
- What is wrong with taking something that might save my life and will probably stop, if not hinder, the spread of Covid-19? Everyone must be vaccinated!
And the debate rages on.
In a nutshell, here’s what I’ve said from the beginning regarding Covid-19.
- Covid-19 is a serious and legitimate health issue. Especially for the elderly or health compromised. (I have a friend who right now is on a ventilator with Covid related pneumonia.)
- Covid-19 is here to stay (in some variant or another), much like the flu.
- We must not and should not ever live in a state of fear.
- I believe in adult-to-adult relationships. Meaning, you should decide what is best for you.
Believe me, I have heard or read the arguments for and against Covid shots and masks. Almost daily, somebody sends me something to read or listen to related to these topics. I have done my best to sort through the information with wisdom and without bias.
As expected, we Christians use Scriptures to support our beliefs and opinions. However, whether you want to admit this or not, there are many Scriptures a person can incorrectly use to validate their point of view.
The fact is, there are no Scriptures that directly address the issues of masks and shots.
None. Nada. Zip.
(Boy, did I just push a few buttons.)
Please take a breath and hear my heart, from the sanctity of life to religious freedom to loving your neighbor texts . . . (and the list goes on)—I know all the bible passages that people are using. I have been studying the Word for over forty years.
But here’s something else, I know I don’t know as much as I think I know. (And neither do you.)
That being said, Christians should never use the “sword of the word” to cut each other to pieces. I see way too much of that happening, and it breaks God’s heart and hurts our witness to a watching world.
Of course, there are non-negotiables and many clearly taught truths in God’s Word. For example, the Bible is specific about who Jesus is and what He came to do. Regarding selflessness and sacrifice—the Scriptures are unambiguous. When it comes to loving God and loving others—the Word is crystal clear.
So, to be clear about my position, I will repeat myself, there are no direct Scriptures that address masks and shots. You are free to interpret and apply certain general passages as you feel led to do so by the Holy Spirit. However, you must be careful not to “proof text” your position or use the Bible as ammo.
Yes, there are principles taught that can and should be applied in many situations not directly addressed in the Word. But please be humble enough to admit two things: a) you might be wrong in your understanding and application, b) you are not the Lord over anyone, ever.
So . . . drum roll please, here is my conclusion:
When it comes to the debatable, you need to hear from Jesus what He wants you to do.
Ah, but you say, “My position is not disputable! I am right, and I can show you where others are wrong from the Bible! We cannot compromise truth! There is no middle ground here! Bubna, you’re just being wishy-washy trying to keep people happy.”
Has it crossed your mind that I will get emails and comments from people on both sides of the vaccination issue who are not at all happy with me? I’m risking far more by not aligning myself with your group or their group.
Thankfully, however, I am not your Lord, I honestly do believe in the priesthood of all believers, and I value adult-to-adult relationships.
In fact, I think the Holy Spirit is quite capable of leading you.
So, regarding getting vaccinated or not, or wearing a mask or not, what does Jesus want you to do?
Then, please practice grace toward those who will do something different than you.
One last thing. Let’s say you still think I am wrong, and my faith is weak. Here’s a bible passage to consider.
"Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand." Romans 14:1-4 (NIV)
Maybe you should read the passage again and slowly. Yes, this text explicitly addresses the Jewish dietary laws among the believers in Rome. (By the way, in Paul's mind, the stricter one is the weaker one.)
However, the principle taught in Romans 14 applies to all of us. Right or wrong, stop quarreling over disputable matters because God has accepted you, and He is our only master.
I cannot place limits where God has given liberty. I cannot reject you because we happen to disagree about an issue.
We all have different beliefs, don’t we? We all have biases, filters, and beliefs developed over time that affect our current views.
Having an opinion is okay, but it is never an excuse to treat others harshly or to reject anyone.
If your relationship with me (or with Eastpoint if you attend our church) is based on 100% agreement with everything said, then our relationship is destined to fail.
If you require everyone else in your life to believe exactly the way you believe and to see things precisely the same way you see something, then you’re going to be disappointed.
We are to honor, esteem, and value one another.
We are to be kind, merciful, and gracious with one another.
We are to guard our unity in Christ, and unity is not uniformity.
And we are to value our relational connection in Jesus far above our particular theological views.
So, I beg you. Let’s do more accepting and loving and a lot less quarreling and rejecting. This is the way of those who follow Jesus.
This Post Has 38 Comments
I couldn’t be prouder of you, and this is masterfully written!
Thank you. That means a lot to me. You are loved.
Thank you. We were given the freedom to make choice by Jesus. We should accept that not everyone will follow our example; only their relationship with Jesus. Thank you Pastor Kurt
You are welcome, Linda. Praying for all…
Perfectly said Pastor Kurt. We appreciate you so much. It’s called giving grace……….. and do what we feel Jesus is calling us to do individually. Love one another………no matter what. AMEN!!
Thanks, Sue! LOVE you guys!
This 100%. Great post.
You are 100% appreciated, Tiah! 🙂
Well said!! I wish people everywhere would hear this and read Romans 14! So many people bitterly fighting over masks and vaccinations. And if you don’t agree, your the devil incarnate. It turns out God is in control and knows what each of us needs to thrive and be well. So I love the advice to seek God and do what He says.
Glad it blessed and encouraged you, Laura.
Beautifully said, Kurt! Thanks for tackling such a volatile issue. I know it grieves God’s heart to see all the fighting amongst fellow Believers, and I appreciate your encouragement to respect and love one another. I would like to see Believers making choices based not only upon what is best for them as individuals, but upon what is best for others: Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Well said, Chris. Thanks for adding to the conversation. Give Tim a hug from me!
Pastor, I appreciate how you are able to write exactly what needs to be said. I know it’s the Lord giving you such great wisdom, but it’s how you write out that wisdom that is so powerful.
You are too kind, Linda, but thank you!
I absolutely loved this reading, It is so heartbreaking to see the viciousness that is happening. Thank you
Thank you so much, Heidi. Really appreciate the kind and encouraging words.
I don’t have to agree with everyone, but I do have to LOVE and extend GRACE to everyone!
Even if I think they are wrong – it may actually be MY thoughts that are wrong rather than theirs!
Even if they are willfully sinning, I still have to love them as Jesus did – and He loved every one of us and died for us while we were still sinners.
We need to be more like Jesus and stop judging each other over matters of opinion. That kind of behavior is what the WORLD does, not what Jesus does.
I love ya’ man, and I love where your heart is on these controversial but NON-ESSENTIAL to salvation topics. Thanks for sharing!
Keep on keepin’ on man!
Thanks, Bob! Love and appreciate you brother!
Absolutely! I maintain this is a personal decision. When I made mine, I researched both sides to make myself smart, and then I prayed. I felt immediately at peace with my choice and have continued to tell others to do the same. Thank you for sharing.
Yep, ask Jesus…obey HIM! Love it! Love you, Dawn.
Thanks, Phyllis. Love and appreciate you! Hope all is well.
Thank you for writing your perspective on this hugely controversial matter. It is greatly appreciated! Grace and Blessings to you!
You are welcome, Kristen. It’s time we (Christians) stop beating each other up in the name of “truth.” Love you guys!
Matthew 7. Need l say more?
For those unfamiliar with Matthew 7…
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Thank you Kurt. You are correct, we will all NEVER agree on everything. Be it shots or masks we will always have our views. You are so correct about kindness. That doesn’t mean acceptance of peoples views we are only asked to be kind and accepting of the people. That is my understanding of Gods expectations of me.
Thank you for taking all the time you do to pray, investigate and pass on what you find.
Thank you for loving us.
Well said, Vickie. Love you guys.
YES!!!! 10000000x’S YES!
in all aspects of life, it is not good/right to judge others, this IS God’s decision, not ours. I try to remind my self of this ALL THE TIME. even over mundane issues of everyday living in this world. 🙂
Thanks, Kelly, for adding your thoughts to the conversation.
Your words came straight from God to my ears this morning. I tried, and failed, to fall asleep last night after reading a comment from a friend about some “horrible person in the store open carrying a gun and not wearing a mask..” That could be my son-in-law, who I love. This person is a minority who openly fights for her rights, and yet that is not available to others? I did not know how or if to respond. Honestly, I still don’t but your words gave me affirmation to continue to choose love regardless of what “opinions or beliefs” others may hold. We are all God’s children and none of us are all-knowing. If we all would just remember that during these difficult times it would not be us against them. I choose love. I choose compassion. I choose understanding. I choose Jesus. Thank you Kurt for helping us all through this earthly world and reminding us of the heavenly one.
I’m with you, Carol…I choose love, understanding, and Jesus! Thank you.
Brilliant. Words of Wisdom that come from your experience and from God. I applaud that. I only wish more people would attend to this kind of wisdom. I see so much strife and anomosity that is saddens me. I see the side that says that if we had all just been vaccinated, we would not be in this position. Then there is the side that says that it is my personal freedom to NOT vaccinate or wear a mask. So what do I do? Wear a mask, get vaccinated, and social distance. Am I afraid? No. “If God is with us, of whom should we be afraid?”. I protect myself as much as possible and try and live my life in harmony with those with whom I come in contact. Thanks, Kurt, for your words and your wisdom.
Thanks, Jim, I am trying to take the path of a peacemaker. Love you brother.
Spot on Kurt. Spot on. Romans 14:1 to Romans 15:7 speaks entirely to the issue of handling disputable matters regarding the interpretation and application of Biblical principles to various kinds cultural situations then and now. Thanks for sharing this.
You are welcome, Steve. Thanks for the encouragement.
Beautifully said. Thank you Kurt
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