How do we navigate the times and the dealing of the day as a Christian?
There are many debates of the day but one has had me puzzled, that is the mask debate.
First of all, I don’t like the idea of wearing a mask. I think of armed robbers and those who are trying to conceal their identity to do harm. I think it is a hindrance to safety. That being said…
One day while sitting in a staff meeting we were discussing having our front lines team wear masks because they will be in the closest proximity to people who will come through the door. The first thing out of my mouth was, “I refuse. I will not wear a mask.” I wasn’t rude and I didn’t explain. I just said no. I also am not a person who is on the front lines team. So I really didn’t need to say anything. But I made my opinion known. In a follow up meeting, we were again, discussing wearing masks and the fact that some of the team have stepped down until they don’t have to wear a mask. The first thing in my mind was, ” really? that’s your team!” ( insert raised eyebrow and tone) and then I sat there silent, realizing what just came up out of my heart, all the while calling myself a hypocrite.
We are all human and we have these running conversations going on in our minds, weighing pros and cons, reasons and appraisals. That day I was very aware of the conversation in my mind and something wasn’t right. When ever I find myself saying one thing and expecting someone else to do something different, as long as that something else doesn’t include me, than that is an indicator for me that this is more about ME and I’d better deal with it. There was an issue that was lurking in my heart. So I started asking the Lord about it. I don’t want my life to be more about me than it is about Christ and His people. I want my life to be led by the Spirit. So I brought my heart to the Lord.
The verse and comments below are the result of that encounter:
I heard the Lord say, “whatever is not done in faith is sin to you.”
So first I read where that verse is and its surrounding context: Romans 14:13-23
I wanted to find answers to the question: Do I mask or not mask?
The Lord had me go slowly back over and over sections of it in order and out of order:
Romans 14:22-23 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
Where was my faith? Am I condemning myself in what I approve? Where is my faith?
Romans 14: 14-15 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love.
How am I looking at this? Am I walking in love?
I found these verses interesting and I concluded that to ask the questions “to mask or to not mask?” is not the question. But maybe the question or questions rather are:
1. Do you mask up or do you not mask up from a place of faith?
Where is my faith? To do this or not – if it is against my faith (simply what I believe) is a sin to me. Meaning those who are walking in their faith are doing what they are doing. Some are wearing masks and some are not. OK, so I need to stop getting upset – each has to make their own choice.
2. Does my mask or non-mask-wearing grieve my brother? If it does then I am no longer walking in love?
I concluded that sometimes I will put on a mask to not grieve others and at other times I will take my mask off to not grieve others. Which I can see very quickly would either require a lot of faith or require a lot of humility. So I need to walk in faith and humility.
So then I thought well maybe those are not the actual questions that I need to answer. I went down this trail of thought because I believe the word of God when it says, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
So I continued reading..
Romans 14: 15b-20… Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.
I have found that it comes down to this for us all:
It’s not about the mask! Its about will we learn to love one another, pursue peace, lift one another up, and stop being full of offense toward our brothers and sisters?
I think that’s the question! My answer: Yes I will!
This morning I was asked to help out on the team. I grabbed a mask and with a smile. I served.
Why? Because with the Lord guiding and purifying He removed the thing in me that was frustrated and rebellious. That thing that fights for its rights and wont be moved even for love. That thing was crucified with Christ and I just needed to be reminded of that.
Thanks for Listening,