James 1:19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
Big arguments will always surface when we talk about religion or politics, but today let’s add a third hot button … vaccination. I’ve never seen so many people so angry and divided when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccination debate. I’m convinced that at the base of this argument is fear. Is this fear justified? Yes and no. This virus can kill you and it is nothing to mess with if you get infected. Can you lessen that fear with proper care? Most often, yes. There are some drugs that one can take that may be helpful. Of course, if you are a health compromised person, then don’t take any chances and stay away from the public.
I don’t want to get into the weeds on the reality of this virus, but I do want to wade into this idea of fear, fiction, and fact. There is no doubt that fear is all around this virus, and the CDC, the President, and the medical community have drummed it into us. They all seem to be genuine about getting this virus under control and keeping people safe, yet it hasn't gone the way they want it. Why? Mistrust has been created due to some disingenuous people at the top who have been as wrong about the virus as they have been right.
I listen to both sides of this issue and both sides have good points, but here is my problem … if I say anything against vaccination or for vaccination, I will be hated for it. Disagreement is no longer an opportunity to share an opposite point of view in hopes that there will be some kind of epoxy to take place. What do I mean by epoxy? When you buy epoxy glue there are two parts, there is the glue and the hardener. The two must be combined to make the epoxy work. In earlier days, that is how government worked, how disagreements were settled, and how two opposites came together to solve a common problem. That is no longer reality. I have my opinion and you are wrong with your opinion. In fact, you are so wrong that I can hate you for what you believe is true. That is our world today. No compromise, no discussion, no debate, just me and with what I believe and you with what you believe.
As Christians, we are to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Why? We are to listen so we may understand and apply wisdom on how we respond and how to use passion sparingly. Our positions on issues first start with God. It isn’t always about the issue as much as it is about us. Is the issue of vaccination more important to me than the people I am arguing with about it? Am I angry about my position not being heard or respected by those who have a different view? Is my position more about being right than it is about listening? Most people who think they are right about any issue will usually not listen for long. Their participation in any argument is more about winning the argument than it is gaining understanding. Most people we argue with about the vaccinations are friends, fellow congregants, family members, or coworkers … these are the people who are important to us. Do we want to sacrifice them on the altar of disagreement? Do we want to prove my value as a person, the value of my thinking and position to be more important than the people am I called to love?
These are tough times we live in, and we need to be more aware of God and His work in us more than ever before. The Bible tells us clearly that the days ahead will be dark days, days where truth is ignored and myths are believed. If fear drives this pandemic, then hope is our vaccination against it? Our hope isn’t in a vaccination … our hope is ultimately with God. He is the one who knows the beginning and the ending of our lives. He is still in control. Fear is only good if it drives us to the Savior for peace. As bad as this virus is, it could have a good side if Jesus becomes a reality and replaces a fearful heart.
Fiction is not real … it is make-believe. This virus has had some fiction to it, and I think people who oppose vaccination are aware of it. Too much has been said about how this vaccine isn’t a vaccine and was rushed into production and into the arms of Americans much too soon. The trial periods were shortened and it was perceived that if you get vaccinated you have a good chance to beat the virus if you test positive. Well, once vaccinated, we stopped wearing our masks and social distancing, and now we have a variant to deal with. What is true and what is fiction has always troubled me, and the argument people use to defend the process of the development of the vaccine is not sufficient information and fact for me. In many ways, our world does not live in true reality because it doesn’t live according to God’s perspective.
The reality that I see is that this world is in denial of God, in denial of truth, and in denial of God’s values. God values life, there is no darkness in Him, yet He is ignored and hated for the very things He has created. He cannot lie, cannot deceive, and cannot be wrong. Yet, we as a culture have chosen to say no to Him, and yes to one who cannot tell the truth. All the enemy does is deceive, and is never right about anything. Go figure.
Disagreement is the devil’s tool to divide and hate. God uses disagreement to sharpen two opposing sides so the end product comes out to be the best for all.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler