Keep Calm and Show Compassion
As more and more states are opening after lifting stay at home orders, turmoil has arisen as people have struggled to adjust to social distancing and wearing masks in public. Some have reacted with spite toward those who choose not to follow the suggestions from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), others have been disrespectful of those who have chosen to follow the guidelines. As Christians, we need to keep ourselves above this senseless conflict and behave with respect toward our fellow man. We are meant to be examples for the world around us, living testimonies to God’s mercy. As it notes in Matthew 5:16: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
In the face of social disorder, it is easy to justify harsh government regulation, especially when it is compounded by fears regarding the coronavirus. A disturbing op-ed that exemplified this attitude was published by a woman commenting on her fears for her family as states reopen. In it, she said, “People have been wondering what the country reopening will look like, and it’s upsetting to realize that it will look like this: Like states led by conservative governors thrusting their citizens—our loved ones—into harm’s way, and leaving the choice of how to behave up to the individual, who may or may not know what to do, or be able to do it.” 
This kind of attitude insults the idea of freedom itself by assuming that leaving choices up to individuals is somehow horrendous. Although this view may come from a place of good intentions, it leads to the erosion of liberty.
Some communities, such as those facing high levels of infection in New York, have implemented strict government policies designed to curb social interaction. The police in these areas have issued citations and even put tracking anklets to those who have violated the policies. Such measures and their enforcement are a threat to civil liberties. However, they can be justified if the people in the communities behave irrationally.  Christians need to keep a cool head as we all try to limit the community spread of this potentially deadly disease.  Be an example for those around us and more government regulation may not be necessary. Live like the reality described in 1 Peter 2:9 “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Most churches have taken heed of anecdotal cases like the congregation in Arkansas that saw 40 percent of its parishioners stricken with coronavirus.  The majority of churches are doing everything they can to protect their congregants. For example, one church in the Chicago suburbs is holding services but cordoning off its pews, having parishioners brings masks, and limiting attendance to no more than 25 percent of the church’s capacity.  Churches like this are striking the balance between providing spiritual support for their communities while still ensuring the peace of mind of those in attendance.
Instead of becoming bitter or angry over the situation in which our nation finds itself, Christians should enforce their position as the backbone of communities across our great nation by reaching out to those who have been most deeply affected and providing the hope our nation desperately needs. We must provide examples of a peaceful, reasoned response in a time when too many have had their lives turned upside down by fear.
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 Hannah Smothers, “Is the Governor of Texas Trying to Kill My Family by Reopening the State?” Vice (April 29, 2020), https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/y3mabk/is-the-texas-governor-trying-to-kill-my-family-by-reopening-the-state
 Erica Orden, “How social distancing fines are working, or not working, across America,” CNN (April 11, 2020), https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/11/politics/behind-social-distancing-fines/index.html
 Erika Edwards, “COVID-19 spread silently through a rural Arkansas church in March, CDC says,” NBC (May 19, 2020), https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/covid-19-spread-silently-through-rural-arkansas-church-march-cdc-n1210391
 Emma Green, “The Pastors Already Planning to Rebel Against Future Shutdowns,” The Atlantic (May 31, 2020), https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/05/churches-reopen-coronavirus/612304/