COVID-19: Social Distancing Shouldn’t Divide Us
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible for some believers to slip into viewing those who are taking extreme measures to try to protect themselves as being irrational. Unfortunately, this is hardly a Christian attitude. While it is true that panic is a problem, many people are not taking extreme social distancing measures because of fear but out of a genuine moral desire to do what is best for themselves and others.
Some individuals, like Reason editor Robby Soave, question the wisdom of implementing extreme social distancing measures over the course of the next 18 months. Although this attitude is understandable, as Christians, we need to be careful that this does not turn into disdain that ideologically drives us apart as a community of believers. Many of those who have reluctantly adopted social distancing measures have done so out of concern for the wellbeing of others.
Additionally, even if the COVID-19 virus is unlikely to be deadly for healthy people who are in a younger demographic, the risk of passing the virus on to someone who might interact with an individual who has an underlying condition ought to give all of us pause when interacting with the public. While we may scoff at the idea of roommates hiding in separate rooms to socially distance from their housemates, many are acting out of genuine concern for their own wellness, especially if they are in an at-risk category. 
In a similar vein of thought, Romans 14:1-4 exhorts Christians to have compassion for those who may believe differently than themselves.
“Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.”
This passage reminds us that we should not let this pandemic create wedges between ourselves and fellow Christians that will last long after the disease has passed.
Hebrews 10:24-25 advises Christians in the church to come together in mutual affirmation of the body of Christ: “let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” For example, Church leaders in Oregon’s Henderson County already met together to establish social distancing measures that would enable churches to move into a livestreaming format. 
This is an opportunity for the faith of Christians to shine like a light in the darkness. Moving worship services and prayer groups to digital formats has even had some unexpected benefits in the eyes of Reverend Lea Matthews, who said she “noticed that members of the online groups often open up and share more in their online setting than they would share in prayer concerns in front of the congregation.” 
Concerns about social distancing and differences of opinion about the severity of this issue should not be reasons to jeopardize our relationships with fellow believers. In times like this, we should show respect and compassion for those who are, understandably, just doing their best to protect themselves and others. This should not be a divisive event but an opportunity for new forms of fellowship as we band together to weather these difficult times.
Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.
 Robby Soave, “If 18 Months of Extreme Social Distancing Is What It Takes To Stop Coronavirus, We're Doomed,” Reason (March 18, 2020), https://reason.com/2020/03/18/coronavirus-quarantine-imperial-college-london-covid-19/
 Maria Godoy and Allison Aubrey, “It's Time To Get Serious About Social Distancing. Here's How,” NPR (March 17, 2020), https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/17/817251610/its-time-to-get-serious-about-social-distancing-here-s-how
 Shannon Keating, “When The People You Love Can’t Accept That They Need To Stay Home,” Buzzfeed News (March 17, 2020), https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/shannonkeating/coronavirus-social-distancing-self-isolation-quarantine
 Dan Moore, “Social Distancing And The Church,” The Blue Mountain Eagle (March 19, 2020), https://www.bluemountaineagle.com/life/national/social-distancing-and-the-church/article_6c46a265-932c-58b8-a1e7-53f25bb0b8df.html
 Joey Butler and Jim Patterson, “Churches Overcome Social Distancing To Continue Outreach,” UM News (March 17, 2020), https://www.umnews.org/en/news/churches-overcome-social-distancing-to-continue-outreach