“I feel like everyone, everywhere has lost their minds…..”
This is a quote that came out of my mouth several times during the past week and a half. Between the Facebook posts, conflicting news reports, and aggression from people over small things, I had come to the conclusion that the world has lost it’s mind. Things seemed so out of sync.
Once, only a few short weeks ago, this pandemic had started bringing out the best in people like when we saw millions of hearts in the windows of homes across the country in support of our essential workers and to lift the spirits of those who saw them. People were social distancing even though it was hard to not see loved ones. We were protecting each other because we cared about each other. Everyone was coming together, regardless of political, religious, or other belief systems. The world recognized ourselves as the human race – a united group of people who together would help defeat a virus called Covid-19.
Fast-forward a few weeks to the present…..People are playing politics even though the virus doesn’t care how you vote. People are condemning others because of the choices they are making for their family. Others are name-calling and arguing back and forth like they were on an elementary playground. So many are only focusing on themselves and what affects them – selfish behaviors are becoming the norm.
Because I am a rule-follower, ever since I could walk and talk, I have been on the receiving end of these comments. Because I am continuing to shelter in place I have been told that I am “caving to the political agendas instead of fighting for my rights and freedom.” Because I wear a mask, I have been told that I am letting fear get the better of me. Because I am not “bucking the system” I have been called a sheep. And the lowest blow of last week was being told that I wasn’t really a Christian if I was allowing myself to be told what to do by those in power. That because I don’t speak out against the leaders of my state and nation, I must not be a true Christian. (mouth drop)
As a child I was always taught to respect those in authority. From my parents, my elders, teachers at school, etc. I was taught the important lesson of respect and how to follow the rules.
Titus 3:1-2 says “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” (NIV)
The Message puts it more bluntly…. Titus 3:1-2 (MSG) “Remind the people to respect the government and be law-abiding, always ready to lend a helping hand. No insults, no fights. God’s people should be bighearted and courteous.”
Romans 13:1-7 says this “Every person must obey the leaders of the land. There is no power given but from God, and all leaders are allowed by God. 2 The person who does not obey the leaders of the land is working against what God has done. Anyone who does that will be punished.
3 Those who do right do not have to be afraid of the leaders. Those who do wrong are afraid of them. Do you want to be free from fear of them? Then do what is right. You will be respected instead. 4 Leaders are God’s servants to help you. If you do wrong, you should be afraid. They have the power to punish you. They work for God. They do what God wants done to those who do wrong.
5 You must obey the leaders of the land, not only to keep from God’s anger, but so your own heart will have peace. 6 It is right for you to pay taxes because the leaders of the land are servants for God who care for these things. 7 Pay taxes to whom taxes are to be paid. Be afraid of those you should fear. Respect those you should respect.” (NIV)
Scripture says this over and over again.
1 Peter 2:13 Obey the head leader of the country and all other leaders over you. This pleases the Lord. (NIV)
Instead of condemning our leaders, God actually says we should be PRAYING for them! We need to be praying for wisdom for our leaders. Even if we don’t agree with what they are choosing to do, God commands us to pray for them.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 says “First of all, I ask you to pray much for all men and to give thanks for them. 2 Pray for kings and all others who are in power over us so we might live quiet God-like lives in peace. 3 It is good when you pray like this. It pleases God Who is the One Who saves. 4 He wants all people to be saved from the punishment of sin. He wants them to come to know the truth.” (NIV)
God even shows us what to do when we disagree with someone else. In 1 Peter 3:15 He says, “Your heart should be holy and set apart for the Lord God. Always be ready to tell everyone who asks you why you believe as you do. Be gentle as you speak and show respect.”
As we go about our weeks and months ahead, I pray that everyone can be a little bit kinder, thinking about others, and representing themselves as Christ has asked us to. God gave us the two most important commandments:
- You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
- You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.
So whether you agree with someone (leadership included), let’s move forward with a lot more love as we get through this pandemic together.