Do Christians Need to Wear Face Masks?
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
On the way into the grocery store recently, I realized I’d forgotten my coronavirus mask. I was just going to be in and out quickly though, so I proceeded bare-faced. I live in a relatively small town, where it feels like everyone knows that I’m a physician. I’m sure it didn’t help that I was in scrubs, on my way to work, but I felt a lot of judgment behind the eyes of those with masks that day. My first instinct was to be irritated. Don’t tell me how to live. This is a free country. I can go to the stupid grocery store without a mask if I want.
If social media is any indicator, masks are a controversial topic among Christians, some of whom feel very strongly that God will protect them from Covid-19. Being a Christian though, doesn’t insulate us from life’s trials. Covid-19 is just as contagious to Christians as nonbelievers and Christians will face the same mortality rate as everyone else. The coronavirus is real, and when this is all said and done, we will all know those who have died from it.
As an American Christian though, I’m tempted to see this as an issue of personal liberty, which I see as my God-given right. Never mind that following my way has led me to profound misery, no one is going to tell me how to live. For me however, wearing a mask is no longer simply about my rights. It’s about loving my neighbor.
In my work, I’m regularly exposed to a very contagious virus that will cause significant misery if and when I share it with others. A scary percentage of those who carry – and transmit – the virus, don’t even know they have it. Sure, most people will recover (I’m not that worried about getting it myself) but that doesn’t mean it’s OK for me to spread the virus in the name of my personal freedom.
I’m not saying I want the government to tell me I have to wear a mask and I’m not saying that it’s a sin if you don’t wear one. I am saying that Jesus insisted that loving my neighbor often means personal sacrifice. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Do I believe Jesus? Do I truly follow him? If so, then maybe wearing a mask to the grocery store isn’t simply about my rights.