We’ve now had at least two couples leave the local church I attend because we have required attendees to wear a mask during the pandemic. Both couples have accused us, directly or in directly, of lacking faith by wearing masks and by requiring those who attend our service to do so as well.
I’m hearing similar arguments from other believers as well, even some family members. So I thought it time to address it here. I’ve already addressed the difference between trusting and testing God in the pandemic, and I need not repeat that here. But there are a few more points to be made on this issue.
First, if you are one who believes wearing a mask shows a lack of faith, ask yourself a few questions: Do you look both ways before you cross the street, do you lock your doors before you go to bed at night, or do you own a gun? I guess you lack faith; or maybe you don’t lack faith; maybe you are just employing common sense to protect yourself and others in a fallen world. It is irresponsible to take needless risks with your own health; it is unethical to do so when it puts the life or health of others at risk.
Second, believers are dying of COVID. This is nothing new–Christians dying during plagues. During the so-called Plague of Cyprian, Bishop Cyprian noted that Christians weren’t spared from death as a result of the plague. The difference between Christians and the pagans, Cyprian noted, was that Christians continued to take care of the sick, while pagans left town.
Faith is demonstrated then not in being selfishly and needlessly reckless but in being selflessly and necessarily courageous. Wear a mask, but wear it trusting God that because having done what you can do, all you can do at that point is trust God. If you are going to take a risk relative to COVID, do it because it is necessary to serve others, not to satisfy yourself. In other words, wear a mask, but wear it in faith. GS