Representing Jesus in a world of fear…

We are slowly getting out of our self-isolation now! As we go forward, we are going to see many different reactions to the move back out into the public world. As stores, businesses, and restaurants re-open, they must follow the guidelines set forth by the local government – and are also encouraged to keep practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Individuals all have different opinions on whether we should be  told to wear masks in public and many refuse to do so, while others will not go out anywhere without their masks on.

No matter what your opinion or mine may be, whether to continue wearing the mask and keep 6 feet apart, or not – our first priority above all is representing Jesus Christ while we are still in this world. So what does that have to do with whether we wear a mask or not?

Two passages came to mind as I was thinking about this. The first in Romans is explicit, telling us to obey our authorities.

Romans 13:1-2

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

The second is about how we represent ourselves to others:

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Paul was answering a specific question about food offered to idols in this passage. I believe, however, we should apply this to anything we do or say that could “make my brother stumble.”

Right now, we see so many people living in fear – Christians as well as non-Christians. If we are not wearing a mask, we may cause fear in those who believe we must wear masks. If we try to push our opinion that “masks are useless” or “masks are essential” on them, we’re not helping them at all, even if our opinion turns out to be correct. We are only driving a wedge between us and them, a wedge that may prevent us from ever helping or encouraging our fellow believer – or worse, a wedge that may prevent us from ever presenting the gospel to the non-believer. 

So let’s be willing to where a mask where it’s [required/expected/would be helpful], after all, it’s really not that hard. I honestly don’t know if a mask is really going to make that much difference in the long run, as far as protecting from COVID-19, but it may. What I know for sure is that extending grace and accommodating others, even if it means wearing a mask, may make the difference in how you can represent Jesus in this fear-driven world today.

I am praying for you all and love you so so much!

Kendra Irish (PSBC Administrative Assistant)

3 Responses to “Representing Jesus in a world of fear…”

  1. Loretta says:

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Cathy styles & Family says:

    Thankyou for some encouragement today. Despite what’s going on in this world.

  3. Doe says:

    I loved this and I thank you for using the words of Paul to make it so clear. Let us love one another and always be kind.

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