2. Social, Political, and Religious Division
Mask or no mask?
Church or no church?
Vaccine or Mark of the Beast?
What started as a health issue, has become intertwined with political divides, socioeconomic status, and even how people interact with the Church. People who were once close friends no longer associate over the idea of wearing a mask. Those who have taken the vaccine are called “sheep” and those who refuse to are a “part of the problem.” Regardless of where you stand on these issues, we can all agree that even those within the Church, we are not walking in unity.
As a pastor’s wife, I’ve seen how COVID-19 has created a clear line between those who feel like we should “walk by faith” boldly facing coronavirus and those who are in the “walk in wisdom” crowd who feel we should be aware and approach with caution. It would seem that everyone knows the best way to respond to a pandemic and have no issues sharing their opinions with divisive social media posts and looks of disdain in public spaces.
No matter where you stand on the matters at hand, division has never been God’s best for His children. In fact, the Apostle Paul spoke on the topic of strife and division throughout the New Testament.
"I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)
I believe Paul was aware that division can become a distraction. Divisiveness is more than just a disagreement. Instead, division typically occurs when one or both sides refuse to budge, compromise or understand the other person’s opinion. In some ways, the one who chooses to walk in a state of division carries a sense of pride that says, “I’m right and you’re wrong.” Often this stance creates disruption and distracts from the goal at hand.
Within the church, this has caused entire denominations to split. So, while those in the church continue to argue over who’s right and wrong, those on the outside see a poor reflection of God’s heart of unconditional love and reconciliation. In his article, “Church, Don’t Let Coronavirus Divide You” Brett McCracken says it best,
“No one of us should assume we’ve arrived at the definitive answer on how to do this well. Let’s model humility by acknowledging that everything is not obvious, and we are all just trying to do the best we can in this “build the plane in midair” moment.”
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Vitezslav Vylicil