But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Galatians 5:15
Two years ago, before 2020, I’d say that in medicine (at least in my circles) we were unified by a common purpose – serving the patient. Sure, we had religious, political, and personal differences, but when we came together at work, it was to provide medical care for our community. Now though, since the arrival of Covid-19, there is a genuine rift between two profoundly divided sides. Both sides blame the other for that rift and both sides know they’re right.
The issue is inextricably tied to faith and politics and as such, it has become, not just an opinion, but a part of our core beliefs. So, when someone disagrees with us, they don’t just have a different opinion, they oppose our religious convictions and world view. In such a condition, we’re now living in such antagonism to each other that we lose sight of our common goal – providing for the patient. Individually, we can still care for our community, but it’s hard to do it together, because our disagreement now borders on hatred.
We’re terminally short sighted. This issue will eventually pass, but the mission of medicine will live on. The damage we do to each other though, may also persist if we’re not careful. In our zealous convictions, we may permanently damage and sever some relationships with those whom we once loved and worked alongside.
This seems to be Paul’s message to the Galatian Christians in today’s passage. In it, he warned them against fighting with each other. He commanded them to love one another, despite their differences. If they devoured one another, he cautioned that they would be devoured themselves. In their faith, they had a common goal. When they focused on their differences however, they hurt each other and became ineffective at pursuing God’s will.
The same warning applies to us. As Christians, we have so much in common. We believe in God the father and his son Jesus, who gave himself for our salvation. We believe we should love our neighbors and live in such a way that points others to God. Then, however, we fight over a virus, abandoning our common purpose.
I do have an opinion about Covid-19 and vaccines. It’s not wrong to share it and to try to convince others of my opinion. I must always keep that in its place though, realizing that it’s not my primary mission in life. Personally, I don’t want that one issue to define me, my profession, or my faith. I’ve got a calling and a life purpose that goes far beyond just one virus.