Magicians manipulate their audience’s attention in order to accomplish their magic. Most tricks surprise the onlookers because their eyes are looking somewhere else while the performer does the trick out of their focus.
Satan plays the same game, as well. If he can get people, especially Christians, to focus on and obsess over something minor, they won’t deal with the real threat! The pandemic provides a perfect example. Christians, pastors, and even churches have fallen for fighting over the vaccine and pandemic instead of far more destructive and Biblical issues like sin, death and the devil.
Today, so many pastors are throwing around their opinions about the so-called evil of wearing masks in church or government mandates for vaccines, that the message they have been given to proclaim is either not there at all or lost underneath their medical and even constitutional opinions.
The pandemic is not the real pandemic in the lives of our congregations! Mask or no mask, vaccine or no vaccine, it is not a Biblical dilemma. Not to say the debate is not important or that people shouldn’t argue about it. But it is a minor issue compared to the pandemic of sin and hopelessness that is destroying people’s lives and the fabric of our Western Civilization. Pastors who whine about pandemic issues cloud the call to repent and believe. God is in no way concerned about whether people should vaccinate or not. There is no scriptural support for a hard position either way! Yet so often it sounds like the Church is going to live or die on that hill.
So then comes someone who needs Jesus, but perceives the pastor cares more about whether or not to mask. If she disagrees with this hardline, she probably won’t stay to hear about Jesus dying for sinners like her! The devil wins while the pastor’s attention is obsessed with the other hand.
It is so easy to get drawn into these debates publicly. The Pharisees did this regularly with Jesus. They presented to him popular arguments to see if he would take a side and then lose half his audience. They insincerely asked his advice on divorce, paying taxes, who qualifies as a neighbor, etc. Jesus always cut to the real issue and transcended their petty concerns.
People are struggling with confusion and mistrust. People are carrying guilt and shame. People are trying to pick up their lives from divorce, a loss of a job, a terrible act committed by themselves or someone against them. They need to hear God’s real law and His real Gospel that heals their real problems, fears and shame.
This is a wonderful time for the the Church and Christ’s gospel to shine in darkness. It’s the perfect time for people to hear about a real solution to the evil in their lives; forgiveness in the blood of Jesus. It’s an extraordinary time for people to hear about a real healing to the pandemic and death itself; Christ’s resurrection and the resurrection to come!
How dare we be proud of being the church that does or doesn’t mask! Repent and believe the Good News, pastors and Christians! May it fill you with His peace and may that peace overflow into the lives of those around you!