Throughout the past few weeks, our lives have been forever changed by something so small that it is completely invisible to the naked eye. And yet, this microscopic virus has unmasked a difficult reality at work in our world: the competing power of fear and compassion.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people of faith quote 2 Timothy 1:7 in the past few weeks: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” This has never been more true than in these past days when uncertainty, anxiety, worry, and fear have been unwelcomed companions in our nation, workplaces, homes, and even our hearts.
In moments like these, we need to be reminded that there is a God who loves us and is with us in even the most difficult circumstances. That God is powerful and still on the throne. That God will never leave us nor forsake us. That God can bring good out of even the most trying and difficult of circumstances.
However, these truths should not be excuses for Christians to ignore the best advice from our officials. This fearlessness is not a license to live recklessly or to use our confidence as an excuse for putting our neighbors in danger.
If we look closely at the life of Jesus, we see a pattern emerge. Over and over again, Jesus showed a special heart and compassion for those who were on the margins. He showed partiality to those who were the weakest. The sick and the broken were drawn to him.
Look at the following examples: Jesus interacted with lepers, stopped in the middle of a crowd to focus on a woman who was healed from touching the hem of his robe, and corrected bad theology from the disciples about a man born blind. Jesus engaged a man possessed by a legion of demons, showed great compassion concern for a marginalized Samaritan woman at the well, and lifted up a poor widow and her mite as an example of faith.
Throughout the gospels, Jesus’ harshest words are reserved for those who flaunt their freedom and use their confidence to oppress others or put them in danger. His most pointed rebuke comes to the powerful and those who seem to ignore the weak, vulnerable, and powerless. He teaches his followers that the way you protect and minister to “the least of these” is, in fact, the way you have treated Jesus.
Therefore, as people of faith, let us follow the example of Jesus. Let us place the needs of the weakest and most vulnerable among us at the forefront. Even if it means inconvenience and sacrifice for us, may we live and act with the interest of others as our guiding principle.
Should we be fearless in these days? Yes! But let us not be reckless in these uncertain and difficult days. Let us put others first in each and every decision and step forward in confidence that God is going to use this to bring about a good that we cannot yet see.
Rev. Steven Norris