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To mask or not to mask, is that the question? Opinions abound on how we should move forward in this pandemic.

My name is Larry Szyman and I am one of the pastors of Faith Community. Perhaps you, too, have received mixed messages by well-meaning people trying to do their best with the information they have.

Can we agree that no one knows exactly what is going to happen, that we don’t want illness for us or our neighbors, and we all wonder about economic recovery?

Will it be gradual or robust? Have jobs been lost forever? These questions can foster anxiety.

Consider the mask. Independent Americans don’t like anyone telling us what or what not do. It’s one thing to wear a mask because the governor or Menard’s says I have to, but what do we do with our neighbors when we have an honest difference of opinion?

In the early church there was a debate over practices that seemed quite significant to some and not as significant to others. Sound familiar?

The word vegan wasn’t popular in biblical times, but there were those who for conscience sake limited themselves to eating vegetables. Others felt free not merely to enjoy meat, but discounted meat that had been previously used as an offering to false Gods. One person saw this meat eating as a significant compromise of faith, while the other, in good faith, simply saw a piece of tasty meat in front of them.

These two sincere groups of people existed in the church of Rome and were given the following principles in dealing with one another.

  • Do not despise or pass judgment on one another (Romans 14:3). God is the ultimate judge.
  • Whatever you do, do it to honor the Lord (Romans 14:5). If you can do so before God with a clear conscience, enjoy yourself.
  • Do not become an obstacle in the progress of the life of another (Romans 14:13). Do not use your freedom at another’s expense.
  • Pursue that which makes peace and builds one another up (Romans 14:19). Always consider others in your decision-making progress.

Does God have an opinion on masking? It would seem God is more concerned about the posture of our heart toward others. Jesus calls us to regard our neighbor’s well-being like we naturally and reflexively look out for ourselves.

To mask or not to mask is not the question. The question is: “Is life about me alone, or does it include my neighbors?”

If in this COVID season you’re experiencing anxiety and frustration and that is affecting the way you function in life, we can help you! On Tuesday, May 19th from 7:00-8:00pm, Pat Stream, FCC’s Pastor of Counseling will be offering an online event called Faith & Life Conversations.

Pat will be looking in greater depth at this area of anxiety, offering his insight as a Certified Biblical Counselor. He’ll offer perspective, field questions and pray for those in attendance. Registration is required and is limited to 100 people. You can register by clicking on this link we provide. Please take advantage of this opportunity to grow in this challenging season.

I hope you find these thoughts helpful as you consider how to live as an individual in the midst of a COVID community. If so, could you share this link with someone you care about? Thanks. We look forward to seeing you again next week for Faith and Life.

REGISTER for the FAITH & Life Conversation, Overcoming Anxiety, HERE!

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