I’ve been thinking about masks. I know, I know, we’re all tired of hearing about, thinking about, and wearing masks. But, the issue of wearing masks in public goes deeper than simply putting on a mask to go into Wal-Mart.
A few days ago, I received a text from a member of a former church. She wanted to know what I thought about wearing masks and specifically what I thought about people’s resistance to it. I responded the best I could within the limitations of a text. Her question, however, has stayed on my mind.
Last week, Shelby County, where my family lives, mandated wearing masks in public. The city of Memphis had previously passed an ordinance requiring masks. Why was this necessary?
It was necessary because no one wants to wear a mask. Even though we’ve been shown that wearing a mask hinders the spread of Covid-19, we still roll our eyes and shake our heads when we’re told to wear one.
Why the resistance?
I think that our hesitance to wear a mask comes from the core of our American identity. This past weekend we celebrated our independence. Our founding fathers rebelled against an oppressive government and created a nation based on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We should praise the Lord that He allows us to live in a nation of personal and religious freedom. I pray we never take our freedoms and their cost for granted.
Our founding created a nation with a unique DNA. From the beginning, we’ve been on the outlook for government overreach. We’re a nation of rebels and if pushed, we’ll rebel.
I think this important national trait lies at the heart of our resistance to masks.
I’ve heard people say things like, “All of this stuff is just made up. It’s so the government can have their way a little at a time.” Or, “They’re lying about all this. It’s a conspiracy.”
This attitude isn’t helpful.
While I think it’s important for Bible believing Christians to be involved in government and politics, I hope we’ve all learned our lesson lately that we can’t rely on man-made institutions to support Christian values. Just last week, the Supreme Court made a ruling in favor of the abortion industry. This happened because a so-called conservative judge sided with those on the left.
Reliance on a temporal government to support eternal truth is shaky at best.
The only true and eternal hope for this world is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We may be citizens of the United States, Tennessee, Shelby County, and Memphis, but our eternal citizenship is in Heaven.
Paul wrote in Philippians 3:20–21, “20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (NASB)
This citizenship must be our lens for filtering decisions about issues such as masks. Our loyalty is to Christ first and the United States second. When we are asked by the government to wear a mask, we must respond with Christlikeness.
Matthew 22:34–40 says, “34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (NASB)
Wearing a mask is a “loving our neighbor” issue. If wearing a mask protects others, then we wear masks.
Masks are not persecution. If the government begins to use this virus to hinder our worship, as some states have experienced, we’ll respond with the words of Peter in Acts 5:29, “We must obey God rather than men.” (NASB) But until that happens, we’ll respond to God’s command given by Paul in Romans 13:1, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” (NASB)
No one likes wearing a mask. We’ll all agree on that. But, let’s set aside our national suspicion of government for the moment and think of those who are vulnerable to this virus. Let’s wear our masks because we love others. Let’s wear our masks because our citizenship is in Heaven. Let’s wear our masks because it’s the right thing to do.