Perfect Love and COVID-19

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1 John 4:18

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

(Issue: Some people are afraid of COVID-19.  How can we love them as Jesus loved us?)

“If you wear a mask, you are fearful and lack faith.”

Let’s address this through the lens of “perfect love”.

While I understand the frustration of having to wear an uncomfortable mask out in public while the facts about COVID-19 are still coming to light, the act of wearing a mask does not mean that a person is afraid.  On the contrary, most people wearing a mask are not wearing it to protect themselves from contracting the virus but to protect others around them from contracting the virus.  Wearing a mask is about wanting to keep others safe and considering the well-being of those around you.

The perfect love of Jesus was self-sacrificial.  Jesus came for us at the cost of His life.  Perfect love always puts the concerns of others before your own.  The fear driven out by the perfect love of Jesus in 1 John 4:18 is a fear based in an insecurity that you are not wholly and completely loved by God.  You might not be afraid of the COVID-19 virus, but some around you are.  Some have lost loved ones due to the virus or fear for the condition of loved ones who might contract it.  Some have a justifiable reason to be concerned and possibly afraid.  The perfect love of Jesus settles nerves, anxieties and fears. It brings peace and comfort in return.  If we are condemning those around us for lacking faith and being gripped by fear, what is the witness of the Gospel to the world we pray accepts Jesus as the Messiah?  I truly question if it is a witness of the perfect love of Jesus to the world as a light in the darkness.

(Issue: We all want to get together in person with one another.  How can we love those around us who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and concerned for their health?)

“I won’t continue to practice social distancing because I just don’t see the point.”

Let’s address this through the lens of “perfect love”.

This statement concludes that anything we don’t understand is to be dismissed and rejected.  How then is one to follow the sovereign will of God that so often is riddled with mystery?  How then is one to understand the Gospel of Jesus that left his closest disciples consistently confused at what was “really” going on?

The entire message of the Bible is that through circumstances beyond understanding, those who continue to trust in God will be refined and renewed in their faith, even if what they receive contradicts what they want.

The entire message of the Gospel is that Jesus laid down His crown to be persecuted, rejected and crucified as a blasphemer and criminal, and to experience cosmic separation from the Father.  In the garden Jesus asked the Father to remove the Cup of suffering from Him but ultimately surrendered himself with, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

Are we as the Church leading with, “Not my will, but thy will be done”?  Are we as Christians leading with a witness that proclaims to the world that God always works through suffering to provide a way when there seems to be no way?

Matthew 26:37-40

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”