In January this year, the world watched as China became the epicenter forCovid-19. It began spreading country to country eventually reaching the United States impacting tens of thousands of lives. In an effort to love our neighbor and help fellow citizens fight against this unseen disease, we prayed and followed Presidential guidelines along with various Governor, County and Mayoral orders. As time has passed God has heard our prayers and a difference has been made with the stabilizing of the virus and in some areas a decreasing affect.
At the same time, as these orders have gone from days, to weeks, to months, to unknown periods it has created growing unrest. Consequently, many officials across America have responded to the improved Covid-19 numbers along with the voices of people and began opening back up. Even so, restrictions remain which are still causing hardship in various forms.
How shall we live in the midst of this? Does God have anything to say?
The New Testament was written to followers of Christ under attack because their beliefs and practices which violated different Jewish, Roman or local laws.
Yet, in the face of this, Peter, a leader in the early church, wrote to his fellow believers, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him . . . For this is the will of God” (1 Peter 2:13-15). Peter went on to say, “But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God” (vs. 20).
Peter is saying that followers of Christ are to be model citizens and comply with varying government laws, ordinances, orders and so forth. He also speaks of fellow believers and encourages continuous efforts at doing good to others, which is in accordance with the Great Commandment. He recognizes that sometimes the two conflict, where doing good for God and others may violate government laws.
What is “doing good?” It can be preaching the gospel to others like I do. It can also be providing needed goods or services to others. And perhaps this can be done within the framework of Covid-19 restrictions, but perhaps you are in a situation where it cannot be done, and doing so would mean violating local orders.
What does Peter tell us to do? In either case, he tells us to do good.1) Do good by faith, while fully entrusting the outcome to the Lord God. 2) Let no sin of anger, bitterness, threatening, evil speaking or deceit be found on your lips. 3) Be willing to fully accept any and all consequences that may come your way. In these ways, we will follow Jesus’ example as He suffered unjustly on His way to the cross.
The situation with Covid-19 is different depending on where you live. You need to consider your customers or people you minister to, your employees or volunteers, the order from officials and the facts as best you can determine about the virus in your location. Then after all that you have a decision to make.
Be prayerful. Walk wisely. Study the Scriptures for yourself. Remember, in the eyes of God there is no law against love and no law against doing good.
A prayer for you - “Lord God, I pray for churches, small businesses and non-profits as they grapple with how to proceed in this new reality. Give them wisdom and discernment in making decisions for the future or their organization. Let them not be governed by fear of consequences, but by doing good for those whom they serve. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Hope for Today is a nationally syndicated column. Please share your comment or question with Clint at firstname.lastname@example.org.