Sunday, July 12, 2020

Why I Resist Wearing Masks

Last week, a pastor in Florida asked his Facebook friends if they thought there was a political agenda behind the requirement of wearing face masks. I wrote a response saying there was (more on that later). The pastor originally liked my comment but then unfriended me after someone else posted an opposing viewpoint. Since this pastor allowed public comments on his wall, I then wrote: “It’s sad the devil is using masks to divide believers.” The pastor reacted by blocking me.

Days before I posted this on my social media pages: “What would Jesus do regarding COVID-19? I can’t imagine Him staying home and wearing a mask. He’d be out healing the sick.” That stirred up negative remarks from a minister’s wife I met four years ago. She insisted God wants us to wear masks and quoted Isaiah 26:20 claiming it’s a command to self-quarantine…

“Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past.”

This verse was a command to Israel during a time of divine judgment. It had nothing to do with a pandemic. I kept reminding this woman Christians are under a new and better covenant (Hebrews 8:6).

The coronavirus is real. I know a few people who have been infected including three elderly ministers who have recovered from it. What I dispute is the seriousness of the virus to where government leaders are forcing businesses and churches to shut down. The mainstream media continues to highlight the number of cases attributed to COVID-19. Yet I’ve seen increasing proof these statistics are inflated. 

One minister I know shared a story involving a woman in Tyler, Texas. She along with her husband and their children went to a place that provided free COVID-19 testing. After waiting in the hot sun for two hours, they left without getting tested. A few days later, they received a call from this place saying her entire family tested positive for the virus. She pointed out why that was impossible. The lady on the other end of the phone replied, “Oh, then never mind…disregard this message” and hung up. I've since heard many stories like this.

Despite many businesses opening up again, an increasing number of them are requiring customers to wear masks. This is mostly in areas where Democrat Party leaders are imposing ridiculous restrictions upon their constituents. I’ve refused to wear masks except in certain situations… 
  • Two months ago, I flew to Denver to meet up with a friend for a road trip to his house in Virginia. Originally when my ticket was purchased, passengers weren’t required to wear masks but that changed days later. At the Minneapolis airport, I kept my mask off until hearing a Southwest employee announce they had to be on before boarding the plane. After getting settled in my seat, I noticed a woman nearby not wearing a mask at all. None of the flight attendants said anything to her. Therefore, I kept my mask off my face until we landed.
  • Three weeks later, I went with a fellow missionary on a road trip from Virginia back to Minnesota. Twice I stopped to use the bathroom at businesses that posted signs saying masks were mandatory. I complied since it only took me a couple of minutes to use the toilet. 
  • The following Monday, I showed up for an evangelism outreach at a local church. I was shocked to find out church leadership required us to wear masks. I still took part in the outreach but felt awkward considering this church preaches divine healing. Unless the Lord leads me otherwise, I will wait on going out on the streets with them again until the mask mandate is lifted.
  • A couple of weeks later, I bought a new laptop computer at an electronics store that gave out masks at the front door. I put one on but kept the mask off my nose because it’s hard to breathe through those things (I’ve seen videos proving masks reduce oxygen intake and won’t stop the spread of many diseases include COVID-19).
I’m not judging brethren who choose to wear a mask. However, I wish some of them wouldn’t look down on us who trust in the Great Physician. One organization calling itself The Gospel Coalition recently released an article titled “4 Reasons to Wear a Mask, Even if You Hate It.” TGC has released other articles critical of ministers who preach a so-called “health and wealth gospel.” Healing is part of the atonement as well as salvation (Isaiah 53:5).

Some Christians say we should put on masks to “love your neighbor.” I agree we need to be sensitive to those fearful of the virus. Currently, I attend a church where the pastor has never worn a mask. He does have congregation members wearing them during services but haven’t been shamed for doing that. The best way to love your neighbor is obeying the Great Commission, which includes laying hands on the sick and seeing them recover (Mark 16:17-18).

Other mask-wearing Christians are quick to preach about “obeying the laws of the land.” Those in America need to be reminded this nation was founded by God-fearing men who stood up against tyranny from the king of England. Nowadays, pastors and congregations have been threatened with fines and jail time for having meetings. Meanwhile, politicians like New York City mayor Bill de Blasio encourage Black Lives Matter protest gatherings where “social distancing” (a phrase I now detest) isn’t practiced.

So how should Christians respond to the coronavirus? Test positive for faith, keep your distance from doubt, and isolate yourself from fear. I will trust God through this exaggerated pandemic without wearing a mask. What about you?

“And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.” - 2 Chronicles 16:12

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