With President Trump’s plan for “reopening” America being adapted in states across the country, Americans are finally facing the prospect of societal interaction again. After weeks in quarantine, this return to the land of the living will undoubtedly feel strange for some. Health officials’ talk of continued social distancing and a “new normal” will add to the awkwardness of interacting with real people again.
How should we face the reopening of our communities?
More dangerous than COVID-19 itself, it has been said, is the fear of COVID-19. Fear has caused us to lock down our economy and surrender basic rights. Fear has reminded us of its ability to control us. But as we emerge from this isolation with more data and facts than when we entered, we should welcome social interaction fearlessly.
From a Christian perspective, we should live fearlessly anyway:
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”Isaiah 41:10
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”John 14:27
These are not merely cookie-cutter verses, ready-made for refrigerator magnets. These are guarantees of a loving, sovereign God who guides the course of Creation for the benefit of His people (Romans 8:28) and for His own glory (Isaiah 43:7; 66:18).
Living fearlessly does not mean living carelessly. It does mean doing what we should without fear of consequences. That does mean, sometimes, taking risks. Therefore,
I will not be afraid to shake a church member’s hand.
I will not be afraid to hand out Gospel literature.
I will not be afraid to assemble with my Church.
I will not be afraid to travel.
I will not be afraid. Period.
Many have bemoaned the restrictions on personal liberties because of COVID-19. However, those restrictions are being lifted. So alongside living fearlessly, we should be living free.
The greatest expression of freedom is the exercise of it. However, Christians recognize that true freedom always has boundaries:
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage…
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.Galatians 5:1, 13-14
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Christian freedom is the freedom to do whatever you should, not whatever you want. We are about to have the freedom to do something about the economic toll our country has incurred. And, you’re about to be able to “love your neighbor” in ways you haven’t been able to for weeks.
Go to town; you’re “free” to.
Eat at restaurant with friends; you’re “free” to.
Visit a department store; you’re “free” to.
Shop local; you’re “free” to.
Visit in homes; you’re “free” to.
Just do it. Live free.
We all want things to get back to normal. So, just get back to normal as you are free to do so. That will require being fearless and choosing to live free.
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash