“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22 (ESV)
When this pandemic started to dominate the news, I was quick to jump to conclusions regarding the seriousness of the virus. I expressed my opinion only to those of my already small circle of contacts. I questioned the efficacy of the masks—I still do!—and I didn’t wear one until it became mandatory.
Since then, I’ve seen and heard of a number of Christians who flaunt their opposition, even refusing to wear a mask. They weren’t scared; and they weren’t going to bow to the government or the grand conspiracy seeking to steal our American rights and religious freedoms. Some were very vocal about this and openly used their “faith” to justify their actions.
But here’s the thing: As Christians, we should be less concerned about our rights and more concerned about those who don’t know Christ!
While I was reluctant to wear a mask at the beginning, I determined that, while I wasn’t afraid of getting the virus, I would never be the guy that made anyone else feel uncomfortable, or perhaps even afraid, over something as simple as wearing a mask. I wouldn’t allow my comfort or discomfort to be a distraction to those inside and outside faith in Jesus.
Today’s text, 1 Corinthians 9:22 is part of a group of scriptures wherein Paul says, basically, “Yeah, I’ve got rights! But I am more than willing to lay aside my rights in consideration of the lost. I refuse to jeopardize my mission as a Christ-follower by laying claim to my rights.”
There is no doubt in my mind that the day will come when our religious rights and freedoms will, indeed, be stripped from us—perhaps even in my lifetime. We have already lost some! And we have reason to be concerned about that, and to vote our conscience, right or left, whatever that might be. But I feel compelled to implore my brothers and sisters in Christ to “take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” 1 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV).
These trying times put us in a powerful position. People will look to us as representatives of Christ. They will judge Christ by the manner in which we treat them and their fears, their financial collapses due to COVID, and their sicknesses. How we respond may turn them away from Christ forever. Or…it may just be the final piece in the puzzle, the missing link, holding them back from following Jesus!
This message is not a rebuke. It is not about condemnation. It’s all about showing our love for Jesus by the manner in which we love others!
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels