Bridging the Divided

Defiance or Respect: The Choice Is Ours…..

As COVID-19 marches across the country life is changing.  More states are ordering non-essential businesses and employees to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Are people listening? More importantly, are they respecting the orders?

There is a commercial in our area for a product that starts with the statement, “Tell us we can’t, and we will prove to you we can”. I suppose it works for their product, but I am seeing that very attitude all over social media in relation to the stay-at-home orders. And now, a pastor of a large congregation is arrested for defying gathering limits and stay-at-home orders exposing countless thousands because they have a God-issued ray-gun or some such nonsense to protect them from the ravages of COVID. Where is the Christian love and respect for others supposedly found within their walls? The defiant attitudes of many will result in more diagnosed cases, and worse, if the “tell us we can’t” population won’t stop long enough to understand the orders are for the good of all, not to strip away our rights. I get it. Fear prickles at the back of the neck as the realization slowly dawns that we may be standing on the precipice of losing the independence our ancestors fought and died for, but what is the alternative?

It saddens me to walk through the park in our neighborhood and see “Park Closed” signs around the playgrounds. As I drove to work on the last morning before starting to work from home I passed a church sign that read, “Closed until further notice”. No “Jesus is still on His throne”, or “God’s got this” like other church signs I’ve seen. I don’t attend church, but it sent a chill. Had the flock been left without a shepherd to wander alone in the desert? At the same time, closing playgrounds, churches, and other businesses is a show of respect for the lives of others. 

And, then I wonder if we are already cracking under the stress. Is it possible we have so little resilience rage and aggression is rising to the surface so soon? A few days prior I walked along the walking path in our neighborhood park. Chalk drawings in pastel hews decorated every other sidewalk block with encouraging messages and scriptures. As I walked along reading each block I smiled at the faith of little children too young to understand not everyone’s prayers are answered for healing or restoration, that just because one lives a clean, Christlike life before others bad things can still happen and God withholds explanations. A couple of days later I walked the same path and the colorful messages were scribbled out, angry, hateful words and foul language were written over drawings of the cross and references to the Bible. I shook my head as I wondered why the encouragement of innocent expression drew such rage and hatred. 

The latest estimates are 2 million people will likely die in our nation alone before COVID-19 lands its place within the pages of history. 

How will it end? What is to become of life as we knew it? Questions without answers are the new norm as we diligently and tirelessly fight a war with an enemy we cannot see with the naked eye. What if “tell us we can’t and we will prove to you we can” was our response to respecting the lives of others and we stayed at home? We might win the war sooner…..

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