Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
As we experience the much-anticipated reopening of our city and nation, it’s unleashed an avalanche of strong opinions on the subject, ranging from those who feel it’s too fast, too soon to those who feel it’s way overdue. I’ve observed friends on social media turn into verbal warriors as they argue the position they support.
Social media isn’t a good platform for asking people what they think about any subject, because while you may read an occasional wise response, the majority of people don’t want to dialog–they simply want to defend what they believe is the right view, even adding a link to a video or article by some expert to validate their position.
I know this much to be true—everyone can’t be right, though there may be a measure of truth in what’s said. What saddens me the most is now what’s being said, but how it’s being said. The way we handle disagreements is a sign of a pervasive sickness.
One of the most counter-cultural behaviors that Jesus Christ taught and modeled was to focus more on one’s responsibility to others over the exercise of one’s rights. Public responsibility over personal rights. Although Jesus was God, he laid aside some of the rights he possessed as God in order to experience life as a human and to serve the needs of others (see Philippians 2:4-11). Instead of arguing points, Jesus demonstrated compassion.
It makes me wonder what would happen if, instead of declaring and defending our positions, we took time to understand the feelings of others, particularly those impacted deeply by this pandemic. Before boldly announcing where you stand, take a seat beside a family that’s lost a loved one to the coronavirus. Or to talk to a doctor who has worked tirelessly to treat COVID-19 patients. It would be wise to first listen to someone who’s lost their job because of the lockdown or hear the pain of the business owner who doesn’t have the financial means to reopen and tearfully watched a dream evaporate. I suggest you visit an elderly person who lives in fear because their bodies are most vulnerable, and then converse with some high school seniors who’s are first class in history not to celebrate their graduation their peers.
I don’t agree with every statement of our President nor all the policies of our Governor. My mind’s confused by the conflicting messages of some in the medical community. But I can’t imagine the weight of having to make decisions that affect millions of lives. There’s no right way to reopen our cities and churches. Whatever is done will be perceived as wrong to somebody. This pandemic is a complex issue and we’ve learned much in the process. My hope is that as our nation opens up more and more, we will learn to open our hearts as well.