Afraid and Tired ... Or Not
You've seen it. Maybe at times you've even felt it. Fear. Particularly, fear related to COVID-19. Fear that you or someone you know might get it. Fear to be out in public in high-contact situations. Fear of the economic impact. Fear of losing your rights. Fear that churches will not recover.
Those in Christ belong to Him. Therefore, we know that we don't really have anything to fear. But we can still feel it, and sometimes we feel like we're bad Christians if we do. We don't really need to live in fear, and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit can drive out our fear impulse.
But refusing to fear doesn't mean refusing wisdom. There are many wise things we do everyday to protect ourselves from danger without fear (did you lock your car today?). So, even in a time of a spreading virus, the course of wisdom doesn't equate to fear.
And perhaps you've also felt fatigue. Videoconference fatigue. Fatigue from social restrictions. Fatigue from kids being home. All. The. Time. I'm getting tired. And when I'm tired, I get careless - careless with my attitude, my words, my opinion of other people, and so on.
So, I catch myself more and more getting careless about wisdom - not maintaining social distancing, not washing my hands as often and thoroughly as I had been, and touching my face. I had no idea how many times a day I touch my face. Weariness can undermine wisdom. It's not fearlessness ... it's just carelessness.
But our driving question should not be "what would be fearless?" or "what would be diligently cautious?" Rather, our driving question always, especially during times like this, is "what does it mean to love my neighbor as myself?"
Loving my neighbor means I don't feed their fear. Loving my neighbor means not encouraging them to discard reasonable caution. Loving my neighbor means I curtail some of my rights to protect them, or even to just demonstrate that I care for them.
I stay 6 feet away because I love you, not because I fear you. Shaking your hand right now might be an unloving act, as much as I want to shake your hand.
I'm not telling you to wear a mask. I'm not telling you what to do in your own spaces. I am asking you to love your neighbor. The extra precautions we're taking during our worship gatherings are because we love you and your neighbors.
Image of "Gollum" from "Lord of the Rings": Frédéric Bennett (Benef) / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)