My Faith Votes | How Then Shall We Respond?


How Then Shall We Respond?

“Six feet! You need to stay six feet away from me!”

I turned around to see what the commotion was all about when I saw a man whose face was covered with a homemade cloth mask (created to shield him from Covid-19), but even the face-covering couldn’t hide his intense anger – an anger that was directed towards me!

Unwittingly, I broke a safety rule by not standing on one of the designated stickers located on the post office floor, telling us to remain six feet apart. I wasn’t trying to upset him or be disobedient to the rules, I just needed to grab an envelope and in order to get to it, I had to walk past him.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t aggravated by his behavior. What was wrong with him that he went straight to screaming, bypassing his indoor voice altogether? Irritated at his irritation, I was just about to respond in kind, but stopped short when he looked at me.

Masks may cover the mouth and nose but they don’t cover the windows to our souls, and when I looked in his eyes, I saw fear. My irritation was quickly replaced by concern that enabled me to see him in a different light. He was scared and his fear disguised itself as anger. I’ve often given others advise to not take things personally, even if it’s directed at you, now I was given yet another opportunity to practice what I preach. Not fully knowing his situation, I erred on the side of compassion and chose not to give him more reasons to be upset.

One of the saddest side effects from the pandemic of 2020 has been its ability to create tension between people. It’s almost as if the visible floor signs telling us to stay six feet apart have also manufactured an invisible wall of distrust and indignation toward each other. This is a dangerous place to be because a house divided cannot stand.

After my encounter with the fearful man at the post office, I kept thinking about how, as Christians, we should respond to others during this confusing time. Which led me to my next thought; If Mother Teresa were alive today, would she be arrested for sitting too close to the sick men and women she ministered to? We know who Mother Teresa is because she demonstrated great courage by obeying God’s command to put other people’s interests before her own. She didn’t isolate herself from the world but instead drew near to those who were infected with every type of sickness and disease. Her heart hurt for those who were ostracized by society, so she did something about it. She has been quoted as saying that worse than the disease of leprosy or tuberculosis, is the feeling of being alone and unwanted. Faith energizes us but fear does the opposite, it paralyzes us. To the gratitude of millions, Mother Teresa chose faith over fear and drew near to those who desperately needed to know they weren’t forgotten or unloved.

Which led me to my next thought; What about Jesus? Based on what we know from scripture, Jesus would never consider isolating Himself from the world He came to save. He came to heal the physically and spiritually sick so He surrounded Himself by those whom the world labeled as outcasts and sinners. We see Him over and over again going to people, places and parties that the “righteous” would avoid. Based on our current state of affairs, Jesus would have made headline news if the following encounter happened today:

While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, you can make me clean.” And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him. - Luke 5:12-13

Jesus could have healed this man from a distance, but He chose to heal him with a touch. In fact, the majority of His miraculous healings involved laying hands on the sick. That would be hard to do if He or His disciples had to remain six feet apart from each other. Jesus never kept His distance from anyone who needed Him, no matter how dangerous the situation – from the violent, demon-possessed to contagious lepers, He drew near.

As His followers, we don’t have to fear what the world fears. He has already given us our marching orders to leave the upper room and go into all the world and preach the gospel. We are to be His hands and feet until He returns. God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end and nothing takes Him by surprise or will change His commandments. Jesus told us that, where two or more are gathered in His Name, He is there (Matthew 18:30) – this truth alone should calm our fears and energize our faith. We are supposed to be lights in this world and like Jesus said, we are not to hide our light but shine brightly in the darkness. In order for us to do that, we need each other:

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25

Like individual embers in a fireplace, we won’t last long if we are isolated. However, when embers are surrounded by other embers in the fire, a mighty flame is the result. A flames purpose is to bring light to the world. Jesus tells us the more united we are the more powerfully we will shine and draw others to Him. As the world gets increasingly dark, we have both the opportunity and responsibility to shine brighter than we ever have before and chase the darkness away. There is power in unity and the enemy of our souls knows this, which is why, I believe, isolation and social distancing are his weapons of choice right now.

God’s word says that what the enemy intends for harm, God can use for good, for the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20). These past few months have provided unprecedented opportunities for God’s children to help people who are lonely, scared, isolated, angry, and confused. Let’s be careful not to add to the darkness by reacting in anger but instead may we respond with love and patience. Only then will they listen to the great news that we have to offer.


No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Luke 11:33

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:30.

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20


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Carol Stafford

I agree. I have concluded that we are not called to join the fearful and unbelieving in their fear and/or unbelief. I am prepared to respond in love should anyone ask me why I am not wearing a mask. I am respectful of guidelines on social distancing and make no attempt to infringe on another person's space.