Coronavirus. COV19. SARS-CoV-2. Rona. At this point, we’ve all cemented our opinions on those words. But regardless of our opinions, how we handle this season should cause us to look more introspectively at who we are, what we believe, and why we make the decisions we make.
Before coronavirus containment efforts became government-mandated lockdowns, my husband and I made the decision to heed to the social distancing recommendations early on rather than continue to push the social limits of what was still legally allowed. Our kids stopped playing with the neighborhood kids, we dramatically scaled down going out to essential-only activities, and we stopped having our rotation of “less than 10 people” over to hang out – much to the chagrin of our friends, small groups and those we lead.
My opinions of the coronavirus haven’t changed much. Although I certainly don’t want myself or anyone I know to be infected with the virus — I am not afraid of it. While the world may panic over uncertain circumstances, as Christians we must trust in the sovereignty of God — who we know holds the power of life and death in His hands and “causes all things to work together for good...” (Romans 8:28).
We are called to use wisdom in taking the necessary precautions we know to take so we don’t cause harm foolishly; but ultimately, God has called us to live a life of faith over fear.
If it were just me, I’d prefer to live life according to my level of fear. This would mean that I would make sure that “under 10 people” are hanging out at my house at one time and I would let my kids play with the other neighborhood kids. I would do my part in keeping social distance in public, I’d wash my hands regularly and abide by any mandates given to me by the appropriate authorities – but I would continue to live normally otherwise.
However, I did not self-quarantine early because I am afraid. I self-quarantined out of respect for other people – not only for the physical health of the more susceptible among us, but also for the spiritual health of all those who watch me live as a child of God.
I Corinthians 10:23-24 (NASB) says that “all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.”
God has called us to be sensitive to how our behavior affects other people. Even if that behavior is not inherently wrong or offensive to anyone else.
“Treating others the same way we want them to treat us” is not enough. We have to treat people the way they want to be treated (emphasis on “they”) according to their level of maturity, faith and sensitivity.
So if making a sarcastic joke offends someone, then when I’m around them, I need to be mindful not to joke with them. And if someone else is sensitive about their job being the most important job, then I need to be mindful not to say something that provokes them (even if they could use a little dose of humble reality).
And if the entire world is sensitive about people risking other people’s lives because we weren’t voluntarily self-quarantining, then unless it’s out of alignment with God’s Word, I needed to be mindful to take self-quarantining more serious too, even if it’s not a decision I would make entirely for my own benefit.
As Christians, we live by faith — but we also have to be mindful that what we consider faith, others may perceive as reckless. And since Philippians 2:15 calls us to live a life blameless and free of criticism, then as a representative of God, we must weigh these types of decisions against what is simply convenient for us and what is beneficial for others. Not for yourself, but for others.
Gloria Stella is a film producer, author, pastor’s wife and mom of three young children. She’s the founding producer of En’val Entertainment and recently produced and co-directed the upcoming movie “Tulsa.” She co-authored the book, “CounterCulture Marriage” alongside her husband, Robert Stella, who serves as the Midtown Atlanta Campus Pastor for Jentezen Franklin’s church, Free Chapel. When she’s not conquering the world for Jesus, she’s taking a Masterclass, researching how to build a playground and learning about the latest tech — all while rock climbing over treacherous ocean waves.