Over the last month, COVID-19 has spread throughout the world. It has been especially unstoppable in the United States. America now has more cases of infection than any other country. As a result, our society is scrambling to stop the spread of this pandemic.
My family’s lifestyle has been totally interrupted. My kids have been out of school for three weeks, and will likely remain so until fall. My wife is out of work indefinitely. Our plans to take a vacation this summer are ruined. It doesn’t help that everywhere we like to go to is closed. We can’t even go to the playground anymore!
I can’t remember a crisis like this in my lifetime. The steps being taken to minimize the spread of COVID-19 astound me. My family is trying to continue living our lives as normally as possible. We want to be safe, but we don’t want to be hysterical or panic-stricken. Mostly, we want to respond the way Jesus would.
As Christians, we must respond to crises like this in a biblical way. Here are three ways I believe Jesus wants us to respond to COVID-19:
Use Common Sense
The Bible never uses the phrase “common sense.” But it does promote wisdom. Here are a few wise pieces of advice:
We must ensure our families are doing everything they can to stay healthy. This includes practicing good hygiene, especially washing/sanitizing our hands. Use the extra time at home to evaluate your lifestyle. Are you living in such a way as to be as least susceptible to viruses as possible? If not, make some healthy changes.
The Bible says, “Your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you” (1 Corinthians 6:19). In context, this refers to refraining from sexual immorality. But we can apply it to our health as well. We should care for our bodies as vessels of God’s Spirit.
Being inconsiderate won’t help the situation. Precautions like social distancing and self-quarantine might seem unnecessary to you, but others take them very seriously. The Bible says, “Value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
In other words, don’t be a jerk. Don’t lick the sanitizer, cough on the produce, or throw quarantine parties. Everybody is already on edge; don’t do anything to freak them out!
Jesus showed compassion for sick people. He wasn’t afraid to touch those with infectious diseases. The Bible says, “The people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them” (Luke 4:40). This was even true in the worst case of illness in the ancient world – leprosy.
Lepers were put into lifelong quarantine. They had to maintain extreme social distance, shouting “Unclean!” so nobody touched them by accident. Such a man approached Jesus. “He fell with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean’” (Luke 5:12).
How would you react if you were Jesus? He doesn’t get angry or alarmed. Instead, ‘Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him” (5:13). His compassion overruled His instinct for self-preservation.
It is wise to protect ourselves from COVID-19. But we must also show compassion to those suffering from it. Do you have a neighbor or relative who is sick? How can you help them and their family? Buy extra groceries or toilet paper when you go to the store, or help with yard work or other chores.
Use some of your time off to volunteer at a food pantry or distribute oxygen masks at a nursing home. Find a way to help. At the very least, donate toward World Vision’s relief efforts by sponsoring a Family Emergency Kit.
Preach the Gospel
Jesus used tragedy to call people to repentance: “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish’” (Luke 13:1-3).
COVID-19 isn’t necessarily a form of God’s judgment. We shouldn’t assume He is angry at those with the virus, or that they somehow deserve it. Jesus would ask, “Do you think those with COVID-19 are worse sinners than all others because they suffer this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will perish.”
COVID-19 isn’t the end of the world. But the end of the world is coming. Those who haven’t repented of their sins will suffer God’s judgment. The Bible warns, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). We must warn the world to repent before something worse than COVID-19 happens to them!
Conversely, we hope for “a new heaven and a new earth” where there will be no more sickness or death (Revelation 21:1-4). Leprosy, bubonic plague, COVID-19 – every virus and outbreak gone for good. That future is available to all who repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus. Let us hold out our hope for the world to see!
Feel free to share this post! May God keep you and your family safe and healthy!
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Free download of John Piper’s book on the Coronavirus https://www.desiringgod.org/books/coronavirus-and-christ