Hello Living Word Church,
Today I would like to talk about our communication with our neighbors. I want to focus specifically on how we are speaking and acting towards one another concerning this coronavirus pandemic. From talking with many people and seeing communication on social media, I have observed how this pandemic has become a pretty divisive issue. People have a variety of opinions on the pandemic: how to respond to it, whether churches should reopen, who to trust to report accurate information and on and on. Whether you agree or disagree with others on any of these questions, I am calling us as Christians to remember the Word of God, specifically Ephesians 4: "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:2-3; NIV translation) Verses 14-15 goes on to say, "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love (my emphasis added), we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is Christ."
I understand that many of us are under significant stress and strain as our state has been in quarantine for about three months. I know many are feeling frustrated, lonely and have lost jobs. I can also tell you that the virus has taken a significant toll on many in our church family. Many in the past weeks have expressed their pain in losing loved ones and friends to the virus. Our nurses, healthcare workers, and nursing home staff have told me repeatedly about the suffering that they have witnessed firsthand and the emotional toll it has taken.
So as Christians, I encourage us to be very sensitive about how we talk about this pandemic with others and what we are posting via social media. Are we speaking and communicating the truth or hearsay? And are we doing so in love? Are we seeking to maintain unity? Or stirring up division? Are we building one another up? Or accusing and hurting one another? And how would our non-Christian neighbors perceive our communication? Would they be recognizing us as followers of Jesus by our love? (John 13:35). On a separate note, we just made 1,000 care packs to bless those in significant need during this crisis, especially people who are presently homeless. A huge thanks to everyone who helped us pack them and Provision Ministries for providing the resources! The packs contain basic toiletries, socks and a Gospel of John. Please reply and let me know if you would like to take some packs to distribute to our neighbors in desperate need. Love from your neighbor,