Are You Really Loving Your Neighbor?

Senior woman with face mask gets flowers from neighbor woman

There is a huge debate among many people, mainly those who profess to be Christians, whether to wear masks or not to wear masks, insinuating that it is a matter of loving your neighbor. Certainly, no functional person wants to intentionally give the virus to someone else, much less contracted it themselves. Personally, I hate wearing masks. It is uncomfortable and I feel like I’m being suffocated, and certain types of masks have made my face itch really bad due to an allergic reaction. Nonetheless, I follow the CDC guidelines and wearing masks is mandatory in my city. However, I don’t believe the masks keeps people from contracting COVID-19. What data do I have to support this? My own personal experience. I tested positive for COVID-19 twice. I followed all of the rules of wearing my mask , washed and sanitized my hands regularly etc.. Nevertheless, I believe that we should continue to follow the CDC guidelines and all proper hygiene protocol to at least help lessen the possibility of contracting or spreading the virus. I understand not wanting to potentially give the virus to someone else, especially to a love one. Trust me, I get it. I haven’t seen my mom in almost a month, due to her being in the age group of those who are the most vulnerable to the virus and she is currently dealing with serious health issues so the last thing I want to do is possibly infect her with COVID. So, I understand the logic behind not wanting to be responsible for someone else getting COVID-19, but to use the Scripture “loving your neighbor as you love yourself” to justify or encourage wearing a mask is totally improper use of the Scriptures, it is taking it completely out of its context. It’s okay to be responsible in not wanting to spread COVID-19, but don’t use Scripture to justify your personal convictions. The Scriptures can influence your personal convictions ,however, God’s Word and your personal convictions are two different things. The reality and truth of the matter is that an overwhelmingly majority of people are afraid because COVID-19 has claimed so many lives that people could see catching it as a death sentence. People are using this Scripture out of context as a means of justifying their fear and in a twisted and perverted way trying to say that God endorses the wearing of masks or that not having corporate worship during the pandemic means we are loving our neighbor.

“Wear your masks to demonstrate loving your neighbor, ” they say, with a sanctimonious proclaim. What a “loving” person they must think they are, and they want to make sure everyone else knows it too. As if their position makes them morally superior to anyone who does not wear a mask.  The implication implied is that anyone who does not wear masks is not loving their neighbor. My stance isn’t for or against wearing masks, but my stance is that this is the improper use of Scripture and it’s being used to justify a person’s fears. Insisting that wearing masks is all about loving one’s neighbor, is really fear talking. *Gasp* Kim, how dare you!?! “I’m concerned about infecting other people, and they could die from COVID-19!” Yeah? Are you concerned about them going to hell? If you are really concerned about their death, why aren’t you sharing Jesus with them since death is inevitable? Contrary to popular belief and current events, death can be caused by a myriad of things other than COVID-19. COVID-19 is not the only thing that people are dying from, you think that because that’s all the media keeps showing along with the rising numbers of those who died from contracting the virus. A sister in the Lord whom I attend church with just recently lost her mom, and it had nothing to do with COVID-19.  Death occurred before COVID-19 and people will continue to die of situations unrelated to COVID. As much as people don’t want to talk about death; it is a reality that everyone must face.

The Bible does say, “thou shall love they neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:36). Someone who is biblically illiterate will say this means “you must do unto others as you would have them to do unto you.” But treating others how you want to be treated doesn’t mean you are loving people through the lens of God. Even unbelievers can treat people with kindness and compassion. From a biblical standpoint, if you are really loving your neighbor then you are pointing people to the Cross. To really love your neighbor, you do as Jesus did with the Rich Young Ruler, you tell them the truth and the truth is “unless a man be born again, he cannot enter the Kingdom (John 3:3). So, are we really loving our neighbor as ourselves? Or do we simply don’t want to get sick because we are afraid that we are going to die? Even unbelievers can treat others the way they want to be treated, loving your neighbor according to Scripture is a reflected love through the lens of how you love God because He FIRST loved us. We have to understand that if we truly love our neighbor we can only do so with the help of the Holy Spirit, it’s not something we can achieve in and of ourselves. We need the help of the Holy Spirit in order to love our neighbor because as human beings we aren’t always lovable. It’s impossible to love people in our own ability the way God commands us to love; we must love others through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what it means to love your neighbor according to Scripture, it has nothing to do with actions, but everything to do with loving “in spite of,” just as God loves us in spite of.

Furthermore,  you cannot escape death, not even with a mask or of six feet apart. Thus, pointing to the Scriptures and saying  wearing masks is loving one’s neighbor is not only an improper interpretation of the Scriptures, but also this belief is not supported medically. People are still contracting COVID even while following the CDC Guidelines (wearing masks, washing hands etc.). Masks are also a danger to some wearers in that it causes serious health problems and allergic reactions. So, instead of getting offended when you see someone not wearing a mask how about sharing the Gospel with them? How about you become indignant with the continue and ongoing national panic that is fueling fear from the media? Ask yourself, is it really about loving your neighbor or is it about self-preservation!?! Jesus said,  for whoever desires to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 16:25). God holds all of our lives in His hands thus we can’t die until He says its our time. Death for believers is not a consequence or death sentence (2 Corinthians 5:8), for those who don’t know Christ—it is a consequence. If we are truly going to love our neighbor as ourselves then we must make sure we give them Jesus as we ourselves have received Jesus. It’s not enough to simply not want to give someone COVID-19; we have to love people like God loves people and desire to see them in a relationship with Him. To use the Scriptures, as justification for our own fears is totally wrong. We must be honest with ourselves that we are wearing masks not just because the CDC says we should, but if we would just be downright honest, we just don’t want to die. And, we don’t want to die for numerous reasons, we feel like we haven’t done everything we wanted to do in life. I.e. we haven’t become millionaires yet, we want to see our children grow up, we haven’t been to Paris yet etc.…As believers the last thing we are supposed to fear is death. The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, o death where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory? As believers we are not to fear death, but of course we are not trying to die prematurely by being irresponsible. The Bible says to obey the laws of the land and right now the law is wearing masks when in public. However, we must make sure that we don’t misconstrue Scripture with our own personal opinions and subjectivity. Please wear masks! But understand this, when it’s your time, mask or not, it’s your time!

The real question is not should we be wearing masks. The real question is, where are you in your relationship with God during this season? The world has been shut down, people have been furloughed and laid off work, and a great majority of people are at home. What we said at one point that we had no time for— we now do. What have you been doing with your time? Have you been Netflix binging? Have you been sleeping more? Or have you been using this time to not only stay connected to God, but grow closer to Him?

 If you don’t have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ comment below. I will connect with you, chat with you, email you, zoom you. I’ll do whatever I have to do in order to bring you into a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.


Published by: Kim Petitt

As a person living with a disability challenge is part of my life. I struggled with my identity and I recognize that I still have insecurities to face, but that doesn't mean I can't walk in everything God has purposed me to walk in despite my insecurities. Because of the nature of my condition and physical disability, God's grace is evident in my life everyday and I find strength in the word of God that says in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through him who gives me power". (CJB).

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