What a year! There has been so much happening and so many issues to process. COVID, masks, vaccinations, politics, racial tension, not to mention the personal issues we all go through as a normal part of life. As we try to navigate through all of these issues, we are often confronted with people in our lives who are very passionate about their stance. Some refuse to wear a mask, some are trying to push everyone to get the vaccine and others insist their political party has the right answers.
Passion is a double-edged sword. While it always takes passionate people to get things done and lead the way, passion also causes division and hurt. Churches, families and communities have become divided over whether to wear a mask, whether to take the vaccine and which political party is doing the right thing. This division is actually distracting us from our primary passion.
As followers of Christ, we have been commissioned with a passion that takes precedence over all that has happened this past year, our major passion is the gospel. It is the gospel that changes the hearts of people. It is the gospel that transforms lives from darkness to light. It is the gospel that connects a soul to God and changes their thinking, their values and their worldview. It is the gospel that offers an eternal life that transcends this present world. In 100 years no one is going to care about who did and didn’t wear the mask, get the vaccine or vote a particular party but they will care about whether they heard and received the gospel.
So how do we balance all of that? I am not saying there is no room for being passionate about current issues. God gives us intelligence and discernment to wade through social issues and take a stance. God also calls us to be salt and light in the world. However, when our passion about other things eclipses our passion for the gospel, it becomes a hindrance. If I am more passionate about not taking the COVID-19 vaccine then I am about the gospel, I will end up alienating everyone who does take the vaccine and diminish my chances of being able to share the gospel with them. I have read the passionate social media posts about masks, vaccines and politics and grieve when I think of the large segments of society that will no longer be open to hearing the gospel from the author of that post. They may feel they have won a battle but they have lost the war.
Jesus lived in a politically charged era. The Roman government was oppressive, abusive, unjust and ungodly, even to the point of promoting idolatry. In spite of this, Jesus’ message was the gospel of the Kingdom. The apostle Paul was on the receiving end of the Roman government’s abuse but gave us this advice, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). Let’s follow their example.