How Christians should respond during a pandemic

The Proper Christian Response During a Pandemic

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Part of me wondered if it was even necessary to write this post. I like to think that common sense would prevail among Christians as they react to the increasingly disturbing news. Then I realized that fear has a way of making us forget everything we’ve learned and what we stand for. So I have put together a list of Biblical truths to help ground us during these times.

Self-Isolation is Godly

Ever wonder why God included so many detailed rules in Old Testament Law? I have one word for you. Hygiene. Of course, the overall purpose of God’s law was spiritual and moral, but hygiene played a big role, too.

During Bible times, they did not have modern-day tools and technologies to keep things clean. How then did God keep his people healthy and keep them from killing themselves off from infectious diseases? Through rules and regulations that stopped their spread.

Just a few examples.

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  • People with bodily discharges had to self-isolate (Leviticus 15)
  • People who had touched dead bodies had to thoroughly cleanse themselves and be quarantined ( Numbers 19 )
  • Meat was to be thoroughly cooked (Exodus 12:9)

The point here is not to get Pharisaical about Old Testament law regarding sanitary practices but to understand that these practices, which may at times include quarantines and isolation, keep diseases from spreading. That is a good thing and it is godly and we should strive as Christians to follow that principle to the best of our ability during a pandemic. Afterall, quarantines and isolation were God-designed methods during a time when they didn’t even know what germs were!

Often, because of our faith, our trust in God, and sometimes misguided assumption that the Old Testament is not relevant anymore, Christians make the mistake of ignoring practical advice. Don’t. God used similar methods in the Old Testament for a reason!

There will be exceptions, of course, like caring and loving on the vulnerable and sick. Providing for the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. However, if it is for our own selfish ambitions or that of our children, then we need to reconsider ignoring current self-isolation guidelines.

Put Others Before Yourself — Don’t Hoard!

If no one was hoarding, there would be more than enough toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes for everyone. But that is not the case. Toilet paper has become more precious than gold!

It is prudent to prepare for an extended period of isolation. Having extra toilet paper, water, and food is smart. However, hoarding excessive quantities is not Christ-like. When we hoard, we put ourselves and our families before anyone else. And yet, the scriptures instruct us to do otherwise.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves . (ESV)

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Be prudent, but don’t hoard. Put others before yourself!

Be Generous

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)

There are quite a few verses about generosity, but I chose this one for a reason. Not even God withheld his most precious treasure, His only begotten Son. God gave out of love. He set the standard very high.

Therefore, be generous with your time, with your things, and yes, with your pocketbooks.

A lot of people will be struggling in the next few weeks or months if conditions worsen. There will be numerous opportunities to help one another. Here are two examples of ways you can help.

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  • Check on your elderly friends and neighbors with compromised immune systems. Offer to make a grocery or pharmacy run on their behalf so they don’t need to expose themselves to the general population.
  • Make a list of people you know that are at risk of losing their jobs or losing a large portion of their income (waiters, Lyft drivers, shop attendants, hotel staff, etc). Check on them and help them financially if necessary. Offer to purchase their groceries. Pay their rent or mortgage for a month. Get them gift cards.

This is the time to give generously, even if it means making serious sacrifices. Be like Jesus. Serve often and be willing to sacrifice for the sake of others.

Don’t Panic, Pray.

Philippians 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (ESV)

This can sometimes be easier said than done, but it is where the rubber meets the road. If we believe God’s word to be true, then we must continue to renew our minds with His truths and be obedient to His commands. One of those commands is to pray.

When we begin to feel that anxiety and fear building up, pray. When our minds begin to go places where they should not go, pray.

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Pray that God reminds us that whatever happens, He is in control. Pray for those that are ill and directly affected by the current health crisis. Pray for the families of those that have lost a loved one. Pray for the economic well-being of our neighborhoods. Pray that our leaders make the best decisions possible. Pray for a quick end to the crisis.

Relevant Article: How to Pray for a Pandemic

Share the Gospel

People are afraid. They are afraid of getting sick. They are afraid of losing loved ones. They are afraid of losing their jobs. They are afraid of what the future may hold.

People need comfort and love during these times. They also need the Gospel. They need to know that God loves them and cares for them. They need to know that in times of desperation, only He can provide true comfort and strength to endure. Only He can still make miracles happen. They need to know that death is not the end for those that come to know Jesus. They need to know that there is a much larger crisis on the horizon, the war for their souls.

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