Reasons Why Believers Ought To Adhere to Covid-19 Restriction Guidelines
So some believers have not been following the covid-19 restriction protocols by wearing masks and practicing social distancing in the name of “I am a child of God so Covid-19 cannot harm me” and similar sentiments. I am also a believer who caught covid-19 at a Christian conference I attended last year along with two other believers who also attended the conference. Covid guidelines of wearing masks and staying 2–3 m away from people were not adhered to by many people at the entrance of the venue while we waited to enter the hall. It was inside the venue that wearing masks was mandatory and the seats were well-spaced in adherence to the covid restriction guidelines.
So this post is for every believer who has chosen not to obey the restriction guidelines mandated by the government and I would use scriptures that you know and believe to explain why you should.
The first reason to obey Covid-19 restriction guidelines is that the bible instructs us to obey the governing authorities as seen in Romans 13:1–2 that says;
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
Whether or not you agree with your government’s rules and regulations, as a believer you are mandated by God to obey them. When you flout your government’s rules, you are disobeying God because this scripture tells us to be subject to the governing authorities. The only time we are exempt from obeying our Government’s rule(s) is when it directly contradicts God’s rules such that obedience to the government means disobedience to God. This is seen in Daniel 3:1–16 where king Nebuchadnezzar ordered everyone to bow down and worship the gold statue he erected but Daniel and his friends refused to bow down to it because, in Exodus 20:3–6, God’s first and second commandments say “you shall have no other God before me” and “you shall not make for yourself any graven image nor bow down to it” respectively. Obeying covid-19 restriction guidelines to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and not gather beyond a certain number does not disobey God’s commandments as far as I know.
Here are two examples where Jesus’ parents and Jesus himself subjected themselves to the governing authorities of their time.
First scenario — Luke 2:1–7
In the first example, the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, issued a decree that everyone in the Roman empire should be registered in a census. Everyone had to go register in their city including Mary who was heavily pregnant with Jesus but she didn’t use that as an excuse — she went along with her husband Joseph to his hometown in Bethlehem to be counted and ended up giving birth in a manger because every hotel and inn was fully occupied.
Second scenario — Matthew 17:24–27
In the second example, Peter was asked by the collectors of the temple tax if Jesus did not pay tax and he told them Jesus did. He went home to Jesus and even before he spoke Jesus asked him questions that proved they ought to be exempt from paying tax. However, he asked Peter to go pay the tax from the money he got from catching a fish so that they wouldn’t offend the tax collectors.
The second reason to obey the covid restriction guidelines is that the bible asks us to Take Care with our Liberty as seen in 1st corinthians 8
Now about food sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge [concerning this]. Knowledge [alone] makes [people self-righteously] arrogant, but love [that unselfishly seeks the best for others] builds up and encourages others to grow [in wisdom]. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows and understands anything [of divine matters, without love], he has not yet known as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God [with awe-filled reverence, obedience and gratitude], he is known by Him [as His very own and is greatly loved].
4 In this matter, then, of eating food offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world [it has no real existence], and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, [a]who is the source of all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things [that have been created], and we [believers exist and have life and have been redeemed] through Him.
7 However, not all [believers] have this knowledge. But some, being accustomed [throughout their lives] to [thinking of] the idol until now [as real and living], still eat food [b]as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and because their conscience is weak, it is defiled (guilty, ashamed). 8 Now food will not commend us to God nor bring us close to Him; we are no worse off if we do not eat, nor are we better if we do eat. 9 Only be careful that this liberty of yours [this power to choose] does not somehow become a stumbling block [that is, a temptation to sin] to the weak [in conscience]. 10 For if someone sees you, a person having [c]knowledge, [d]eating in an idol’s temple, then if he is weak, will he not be encouraged to eat things sacrificed to idols [and violate his own convictions]? 11 For through your knowledge (spiritual maturity) this weak man is ruined [that is, he suffers in his spiritual life], the brother for whom Christ died. 12 And when you sin against the brothers and sisters in this way and wound their weak conscience [by confusing them], you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if [my eating a certain] food causes my brother to stumble (sin), I will not eat [such] meat ever again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.
I had to copy out the whole chapter as it succinctly explains the point I am trying to make more than any summary can. The gist of this scripture is this; firstly, your actions towards others should be guided by your love for them and you should do what’s best for them despite your convictions. Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing is what is best for other people even if you are strongly convinced you can never catch covid-19.
Secondly, you should be considerate of other people’s faith and not let your own strong faith cause others with weaker faiths to sin. Maybe some people have been told by Jesus himself that they can never have covid or they have a strong conviction that they can never have it. However, not everyone shares their conviction. So it’s two things — if you’re one of such people with a strong conviction, you don’t shame others with weaker convictions on the whole Covid-19 matter. Paul said if his eating a certain food causes his brother to stumble in sin, he will never eat such meat again so that he will not cause his brother to stumble. If your not wearing a mask and social distancing causes other people to do the same and exposes them, you are clearly in the wrong according to this passage.
Also as a Christian leader whom many people follow, despite your strong faith and conviction, you have the responsibility to set a precedent by adhering to the restriction guidelines. Many people are not wearing masks or social distancing because their spiritual leaders are not doing it not because they have any conviction not to do so. When they now catch the covid, some people would still shame them that they only caught the covid because of their weak faith. You don’t use your faith to intimidate or undermine or inconvenience or shame others. You just don’t. Not everyone has your faith or conviction. Don’t put them at risk by not wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing doesn’t mean that you don’t have faith or you are afraid of covid. It just shows that you are being obedient to God’s word.
And the reason this is so personal for me is that I too was naively convinced I would never have covid. I legit used to tease and even yab some of my friends who would not attend gatherings of any kind or take off their face masks or face shields even to take pictures. For the most part, I hardly ever went out but when I went to the supermarket, for instance, I usually entered with my face mask but pulled it below my chin once I got inside because I found it difficult to breathe with the mask on. Eyin eyan, after I had covid, I can comfortably wear that mask for hours now without taking it off. Just goes to show you that when you say you can’t do something, it’s usually because you are not sufficiently motivated to do it. I wrote a post about that here.
So I am sure that I would never have taken covid seriously if I didn’t catch it because sometimes stubborn goat. And I know there are many people like me in Nigeria especially in this Lagos who would never believe covid exists until they catch it, or lose a loved one to it, or see the pain of someone they know going through it. However, you don’t have to become wise or take precautions only from experience. A Yoruba proverb says “eni jin si koto, o ko ara iyoku logbon” it means when a person falls into a ditch, it teaches the others a lesson. Learn a lesson from all those who have been infected by and died from Covid-19 and do the right thing at all times by following the prescription guidelines that require you to wear a face mask in public and practice social distancing.
I just want to commend The covenant Nation church for their adherence to covid restriction guidelines at Finish strong by Dunsin. Everyone knows my church is Daystar Christian center so this is not an ad. After the conference where I caught covid, I have attended 3 other conferences but only because I didn’t know then it was covid I had when I fell ill. Now, streaming is the only way I attend conferences even if it’s Jesus who is speaking until things change. At Covenant nation, I arrived late so that might also have been a reason but when I was dropped at the church entrance, I was asked to wash my hands from a booth that dispenses soap and water by pressing a pedal with my foot and my hands didn’t have to touch anything. After which I was asked to sanitize my hand from a similar booth. At the entrance of the auditorium, someone was giving out masks to those who didn’t have before they went to sit. I had a mask on so I wasn’t given one. Before being directed to my seat, I was given hand sanitizer again. The seats were very well-spaced and I was more than 2m away from everyone throughout the meeting and after the meeting as I left to meet up with the driver.
Believers shouldn’t give Jesus a bad name by their misconduct and disobeying Government regulations gives Jesus a bad name.
- Wear your mask and practice social distancing.
- Avoid places where covid restriction guidelines are not being followed. If the holy spirit still speaks through the bible which was written thousands of years ago, how much more through the internet when you listen to preachers preach online? Don’t expose or endanger yourself or others in the name of you have to attend meetings physically.
Anyway, I am now reporting individuals, organizations, churches, etc who do not adhere to covid-19 restriction guidelines. That’s my PSR — personal social responsibility — in this season.