Thinking Out Loud
A recent conversation brought to light that some believers find it necessary to “mask shame” those who wear face masks in public places, even to the point of name calling. That bit of information has been at the forefront of my mind and heart ever since. A brief chat this morning added further that “mask shaming” sometimes comes through unintentional but thoughtless remarks. And then, sometimes opinionated comments posted on social media the night before makes for awkward conversations the next day.
Of course, this is contrasted by “non-mask shaming” in return (I just made up that term). Questioning ones character, challenging the genuineness of their love as well as their intelligence because they are non-mask wearers. And then, it wouldn’t be complete until some meme or some article is posted with the intent of ridiculing all the crazy people out there.
This grieves my heart… and as a Christian, it ought to grieve yours as well. To be perfectly honest, it actually just frustrates the living daylights out of me. Obviously the scriptures make no mention of wearing masks or not wearing masks, but it does address the matter in principle.
Three portions of scripture come to mind when I think on these things, 1 Corinthians 8 and 10, and Romans 14. Each deal with, among other things, dietary practices that were neither right or wrong. That is, the particular matter causing division was not an issue of sin. It was more a matter of conscience than anything else. You can and should read each passage yourself. But let’s briefly touch on a few things Paul brings out, using Romans 14 as our source.
First, we are to welcome one another, but not to quarrel over opinions (1). The emphasis: Our union in Christ trumps our personal opinions… (period) (vs.1)
Second, we are not to despise the other because, who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another (the Lord being His master)? (vss. 4, 10-12)
Third, whichever side of the issue we fall, we are to be fully convinced in [our] own mind doing it in honor of the Lord (vs. 5-9)
Fourth, we are to pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Simply put, you are to pursue the good of the other before yourself (19-23).
Finally, we are to remember that the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men (17).
We barely scratched the surface of the passage, so I STRONGLY encourage you to take some time to read through Romans 14 thoughtfully and prayerfully, and with the desire for the Lord to do a work in you.
Essentially, the Bible teaches us to keep the main thing the main thing. It warns against becoming distracted by non-issues. We are in spiritual warfare together, and unless we walk circumspectly, we will be entangled with the affairs of this world (matters with no eternal significance)… we will be entangled with face masks. In turn we lose sight of our brothers in Christ. We lose sight of the mission set before us.
If you wear a face mask, wear it unapologetically, with the conviction that by God’s grace you are behaving in the most prudent and gracious way before men and before the Lord. Guard your mind and your heart with regards to those who don’t wear a face mask. Be gracious in your heart toward them (Ephesians 4:2).
If you do not wear a face mask, do so with meekness and grace as to the Lord. And do it without ignorant presumption of His protective care. Guard your lips. In love, carry a face mask with you and put it on when necessary for the sake of others. Do this, not because you have to, but in order to serve others before yourself (Philippians 2:4).
If your brother or sister has offended you, graciously speak to them about it. Don’t assume that they should know better if you have not pointed it out to them. If you are approached because you have offended someone, humbly keep your heart in check, pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding and be reconciled (that’s almost biblical) (Romans 14:19; Matthew 5:23-24).
Remember, the union with Christ you share with one another and the loving unity realized in the Spirit is infinitely more the main thing than any opinion you may hold regarding the Corona Virus and wearing a face mask.
Soli Deo Gloria! (To God Alone Be Glory!)