Earlier I talked about the coronavirus, fear and faith. [You can read that post here.] I said that Jesus’ instruction to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31) persists in a pandemic.
But in a time like this, how do we do it?
Here are six suggestions:
1. Don’t hoard
Imagine standing in the store looking at two (or twenty) packages of toilet paper, and your neighbour is right beside you. Are you really going to take them all?
If you have a need, so do others. How would you feel if an elderly neighbour, sick person, or single mom with three kids had to go without because you were a hoarder?
Hoarding can be a symptom of faithlessness—the fear that God won’t provide for your needs.
2. Remember and tend to the sick and lonely
There are people who are most likely feeling even more isolated than normal. Some aren’t connected online. Some have trouble getting supplies on a good day.
Some are unwell for a variety of reasons, or are feeling scared in a world which can startle quickly. Remember and tend to the sick and lonely while observing best practices for health.
3. Don’t spread misinformation
One of the differences between coronavirus in 2020 and, for example, the SARS epidemic in 2003, is that information (and misinformation) travels much more quickly than it used to. Many people get their “information” from social media sources regardless of who provided the content.
It’s not loving to incite panic. Try to get information from credible people. They, of course, don’t know everything. But public health officials try to act in the public’s best interest. Informed decisions are good decisions.
4. Take your own health seriously
In a situation like this, it’s not helpful to pretend you’re “fine” if you’re not. If you think you’re sick, seek help and try not to expose others. Wash your hands and observe recommended best practices.
Wellness also has to do with mental health. Many people are experiencing high levels of anxiety and worry. Go to the Lord God Almighty in prayer, meditate on his promises in Scripture, and speak to a wise and trusted friend about what you’re feeling. Worship God.
5. Support small business
There are small businesses which are struggling because of a variety of reasons. Why not try to support them, where possible, knowing that our neighbours’ livelihood is impacted in a positive way when we think of them.
6. Think and serve from a place of faith
As I wrote in my previous post, for followers of Jesus, God is always sovereign, he can bring good out of bad, and hope always wins in the end, even if we have challenges to overcome in this short life.
We are a people of prayer and service. We pray that people get better, that medical professionals and government leaders act with wisdom, and that those of us who are healthy help and serve others—this includes attending not only to physical needs where appropriate, but spiritual needs too. This persists in a pandemic. As time goes on, needs will most likely shift and change. Pay attention and act.
There are many other ways to be loving, of course. This post is to simply get you thinking.
Love is a decision, not a feeling. With that in mind, here are six decisions you can make:
- Don’t hoard
- Remember and tend to the sick and lonely
- Don’t spread misinformation
- Take your own health seriously
- Support small business
- Think and serve from a place of faith
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