Love, Respect, and Concern for the Neighbor

Four hours of cutting, banging on old dusty boards, and tearing out moldy sheetrock walls, left my protective mask black with dust and whatever else it had captured. It was hard to breath in the confounded thing, but I had gone without it before in the same situation and suffered for days afterward with black snot and sinus infection. I realized as I removed and looked at the soiled barrier that all that dirt and mold that I was looking at on the mask would have been in my lungs. I will keep wearing the mask in those situations even though I realize that it does not catch it all and I am breathing a lot of my own carbon dioxide for a short period of time. A lot of people wear a mask when mowing. In extreme dusty situations I also wear a mask mowing. It’s either that or inhale the dust and pay for it days afterward.

The great apostle Paul who was strong in the all-sufficient grace of God, was no stranger to the miracle working power of God. Special miracles were performed through his ministry, he had raised the dead, and he had been bitten by a deadly snake with no harm done to him (Acts 19:11,12; 20:9, 10; 28:3-5). He was a man of great faith. It didn’t bother him a bit to eat meats offered in idol worship because he knew through faith and thanksgiving to God, as far as he was concerned, the meat was good food for him. However, he realized that not everybody had that kind of faith, so that they, out of their reverence to God, would never eat meats that had been offered to idols. Paul’s response was that out of love, respect, and concern for his brother, to keep from possibly offending or harming the brother in any way, he said he would not eat meats offered to idols for as long as the world stands (1 Corinthians 8). Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all people lived by this kind of love, respect, and concern for our brother/sister/neighbor!

In the same way that I keep the dust and filth out of my own system when I am doing remodeling work or mowing, I can take measures to care for my neighbor to do all I can to maybe head off the possibility of some harm or offence coming to them. Even if I am a man of great faith as Paul who can believe and miracles can happen and the dead be raised through the name of Jesus Christ, by love I can choose to lay down my rights and liberty just for a little bit if I might possibly prevent some suffering in another until we can get through the hard times. Does this apply to wearing a mask in this Covid trial? Absolutely. Wear the mask. Take the measures. Believe for healing, health, and wholeness in every way for all.