Although this time of national crises has brought out some of the absolute best in people everywhere, we have seen a few exceptions too. We have seen the news reports of arguments and assaults in grocery stores, and an increase in domestic disputes. We’ve seen the political carping. And we’ve watched hoarders fill their grocery carts with enough paper towels to sop up Lake Superior. Yes, it seems that times of emergency bring out the best and the worst in people. In looking at the situation through a biblical lens, there would appear to be several distasteful traits we should especially guard against, and avoid at a time like this:
Selfishness: What else is it when citizens in droves ignore governmental mandates for social distancing? Or when customers defy store rations which have been imposed to provide a reasonable quantity of scarce items for all? Call it egocentrism if you wish, but in the face of overwhelming educational information now available, it’s difficult to deny we are seeing a lot of plain-old selfishness. Some argue that the problem is a lack of education, but with such intense efforts to educate the population, willful ignorance now looks even more like simple selfishness. When you have extra time on your hands, do you think more of your own pursuits, or do you begin to think more of others? Are you using the time to encourage your brothers and sisters in the church? Have you written that letter or email of encouragement, or are you consumed in your own worries and interests? I know that all of us have things we need to tend to, but this would be a really good time to “lift up our eyes” unto the white fields around us.
Arrogance: You would think that a time of national emergency would produce uniform humility. But I never cease to be amazed at the talking heads who seem to know so much more than the President, or any of us. Their snide comments are to me a most distasteful form of arrogance. The other day, Mike Lindell, Chief Executive Officer of My Pillow, Inc., voluntarily committed to increased production of hospital gowns and face masks from 10,000 to 50,000 daily. But what set the pundits off besides his praise for President Trump, was his suggestion that Americans use their time for increased Bible reading and family togetherness. Some outlets mocked his suggestions, while CNN cut away and didn’t even show them. I get the fact that some observers are totally turned off whenever anyone praises our president. And I have no idea what Mr. Lindell’s religious beliefs are. But frankly I am sick and tired of the mockery of any suggestion that we need to get back to the Bible and to God. I have seen it over and over at the highest levels of government, in journalism, in law, in education, and in practically every other field, and still the best word which describes it is “arrogance.” It’s time we humble ourselves and admit that maybe God has something useful to say, and we better start listening. Further, we better start supporting others who are suggesting that we get back to the Bible.
Pessimism: The tendency to see the worst possible outcome in things, or to imagine that things are only going to get worse, is destructive to oneself and to others. Now is not the time for panic, nor for doomsday analysts. Yes, the situation is bad, and it may get worse before it gets better. That said, let’s open our eyes and look at the amazing possibilities. Our people are being effectively reminded of their utter dependence upon God. We are being given opportunities of service like never before. Our live-streamed worship services and Bible classes are reaching hundreds of people who have never heard us before. We have time on our hands to read, to study, and to spend precious moments with our families. The combination of all of these things has convinced me that we will come out of this situation stronger than when we went in. The light at the end of the tunnel shines with a hope brighter than when we entered. The Lord is still the Lord, and he is still in control. He knows just what we need, even if we don’t. This is no time to lose faith in the God who has seen us through so much. Among other things, the inspired apostle described biblical love as “kind” and not “seeking its own,” (1 Cor. 13:5). Love is courteous, and Christians are the most courteous people of all. People can see that anytime, but especially now, under the stress of a national emergency. God’s people are not selfish, arrogant, or pessimistic. They are models of courtesy, and are now on full display.
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.