Coronavirus crisis: Christians must step up!

The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it. ~Lou Holtz.

If you call yourself Christian, you have responsibilities in these unusual times. Those responsibilities go beyond your opinion, your desires and often, they go against your personal preferences.

It’s easier, though, to gripe, complain, point fingers and argue than it is to be quiet, listen and understand. But crisis reveals who you are: Your character, your values, your convictions, and it’s vital that you stick to those guns rather than pick up the weaponry of a world gone off its rocker.

So what are your responsibilities — as a Christian I mean?

Take care of those around you.

Whether it’s family, friends or co-workers, you have plenty of opportunities now to take care of those around you. The need is everywhere but you may be the one specifically designated to care for that one individual or family. Look at it like this: If you don’t do it, will it get done?

Elizabeth has recently begun sending cards to people around the country. When someone comes to her mind, she acts. The response to a simple card and a few words has been moving.

Often, people feel neglected, forgotten, lonely, even unwanted or abandoned so don’t ignore that still, small voice that urges you to send a card, make a phone call, stop by for a short visit, send a gift or make some other contact.

It may be the only contact they have today. Yours may be the single communication that changes a life. And, it certainly will be worth more to them than it is to you.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27.

Conspiracies, arguments and controversies.

Oh my, don’t get me started. How many conversations have you had recently about re-opening the economy, the inconvenience of not getting a haircut or to wear or not to wear a mask? Some of those conversations undoubtedly didn’t go well, as people have strong opinions and don’t mind sharing them. It’s one reason I spend less time on Facebook today.

I also marvel at what people will believe. Moreover, I am amazed at what people will ask you to believe whether they know it to be true or not! Despite the outlandishness and lack of support of some social media posts and comments, many will pass along theories and conspiracies that could be on the front page of The National Enquirer.

The Christian responsibility. Be the voice of reason. Don’t run with every conspiracy theory (or even one!) or become involved in meaningless conversations that don’t matter or have anything to do with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Be careful that your Facebook posts and comments aren’t ruinous to your reputation. You aren’t going to change their minds anyway!

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Titus 3:9.

Respect for those in authority.

I haven’t seen my pastor in several weeks (at least not in person), but I respect his approach to the coronavirus restrictions. In every Facebook/Instagram post and in every telecast, he has been supportive of government leaders and health officials. He’s prayed for them, lauded first responders and has worked with them hand-in-hand during the pandemic. The church was one of the first to close its doors and, even though it had announced a targeted re-opening for Mother’s Day, New Life Church has sought new ways to reach people while remaining closed.

Is there a place for civil disobedience? Of course. Is there a place for rebellion in the church? Absolutely not!

The Christian responsibility. Pray for your leaders, respect your leaders, support your leaders. Carry on your disagreements with them behind closed doors when possible. Your words matter, especially as a leader. The scripture reference below spells out your duty.

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. Titus 3:1-2.

Be respectful, share good news and love one another.

God never said “Like one another” or “Agree with one another”, but he did say “you should love your neighbor as yourself”. Ouch!

That often means putting the needs and desires of your neighbor ahead of your own! The problem with that for many people, though, is that they don’t love themselves, so that makes it difficult to love others. But I digress.

Seriously, it’s the way of the world today to hate, despise, demean, disparage and belittle. Those characteristics seem more prevalent than respect, consideration and honor, but in part, that’s because the haters and despisers are simply louder!

The Christian responsibility. You don’t have to like ’em, and you certainly don’t have to agree with them, but you do have to love everyone as yourself. Put simply, you must respect and show consideration. Extend compassion and grace, serve them and be understanding. Ask this question: How would I want them to treat me in this same situation?

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 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.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ~Matthew 22:36-38.

This is not an end-all list of responsibilities for Christians. Obviously, there’s a list as long as the Bible. In today’s craziness though, it’s easy to get caught up in the back-and-forth distractions and forget our real duty to others. Those old-fashioned responsibilities are priceless when compared to any opinion, desire or personal preference.

Think outwardly and selflessly.

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