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Christians And COVID-19
© 04.13.20 By D. Eric Williams

This article appeared in the April 16 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

Is there a Christian response or an appropriate Christian behavior in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? The answer, of course, is yes. There is always an appropriate Christian behavior in each and every situation encountered by a follower of Jesus Christ.

We take for granted the letters of the apostle Paul preserved in the New Testament are not simply chatty missives. Rather, each of them is a pithy, theologically dense directive. Thus, when we read that Paul reminded Timothy "God is not given us a spirit of fear" we must recognize this is a reminder Timothy required. It is likely Timothy possessed a natural timidity (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:10, 1 Timothy 4:12). This was of special interest to Paul as a concern Timothy's ministry.

Like Timothy, some of you may be experiencing fear in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. As a child of God you need to remember our heavenly Father is watching over you. You need to keep in mind that no matter what you experience, if you are in relationship with God in Jesus Christ, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. You can rest assured all things will work together for your good as one who is called by the Lord according to his purpose. Therefore, even if you come down with the coronavirus, rest assured the Lord is with you and watching over you. Truly, you have nothing to fear.

Timothy also needed to remember he had the power - the authority - to do the work of ministry. He was not to allow his congregation to look down upon him because of his youth. He was not to let people rebel against his authority. He had the power of the Holy Spirit within him, directing him to do what God had called him to do.

Every Christian has the same power the Holy Spirit. Every Christian has the ability to take authority in their life and arena of activity. For Christians in this time of uncertainty, one of the ways we can exercise this God given power (authority) is to take advantage of the representative government we enjoy in this nation. Every citizen has the power and authority to make their voice heard in the "civil assembly." Christians should be the first people to be in contact with local, state and federal civil authorities concerning the unprecedented behavior of the government. We cannot be timid but must exercise power. We cannot sit back and let things happen, thinking inaction is the "Christian" thing to do. No, we must take our guidance from God's word. If we have doubts about how to put it into action, we look first to the Scripture (Paul's behavior for example) and to the examples of godly men and women in history. In short, we must let our elected and appointed civil officials know our point of view. As for me, I have written to the governor, director of Idaho health and welfare, the representatives and senators in district 7 and to the president the United States. In each case I recommended a reevaluation of the measures that have been enacted in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is something each and every Christian has the authority to do.

Love must under-gird all Christian behavior. When fear stalks the land, it can be difficult to think of others more highly than yourself - but that is what love is all about. Thus, don't let fear cloud your expressions of love. Godly love is based upon truth; fear can make it difficult to recognize truth when you see it.

The Greek word translated as "sound mind" in the New King James Version Ken also means self-control or self-discipline. Yet, self-control or self-discipline are not possible without a sound mind. And a sound mind is one that studies a situation carefully before arriving at a conclusion. Every Christian needs to exercise a sound mind in this time of hysteria. In other words, you need to read widely and carefully assess the current situation. I would recommend staying away from the mainstream media. There are plenty of other news sources out there - many from actual experts rather than just "talking heads" (I've assembled hundreds of links to articles about the COVID-19 HERE)

Clearly, COVID-19 poses a threat to the elderly and unhealthy among us. Certainly we must think of others more highly than our self and be sure our vulnerable population is protected. At the same time, we must not succumb to fear. We must exercise our God given power and authority. And most certainly we must exercise a sound mind, looking beneath the surface to discover the truth.

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