With all the information floating around, 24/7 news reports and social media content blasts, where one post or story contradicts the next and you can always find an opposing research study, we have reached a crossroads in this global pandemic. What do we listen to? There are so many options and considerations on all sides of every issue. In recent days, I have turned off much of the noise and asked myself, what would Jesus do?
I equate the noise to traffic. Consider yourself a vehicle driving in the busiest city you know. Traffic is dense, it is rush hour and raining, people are evacuating the city because of a daunting forecast, so there are cars all around you, driven by fragile hearts, filled with pure panic and fear. Road rage takes on a new meaning. Doesn’t it feel like that’s where we have landed? One giant traffic jam, with a symphony of horns stemming from fear, hatred and self-preservation.
At the core of it, we just want to survive, be healthy and live our best life. How do we get through this spaghetti junction of opposition, coming at us from all sides? If Jesus were here, what would He do?
First, He would welcome us with grace into His goodness, all of us, and tell us not to be afraid. He said it time and time again, if we look to Him for the answers, the strength and the hope we need to get us through every tough situation, fear has no place. Some of us today are living so scared we cannot hear that message. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.
Next, He may remind us of the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the poor in spirit. Where He compared anger to murder. Where He debunked the “eye for an eye” misconception when He encouraged us to turn the other cheek. Be the bigger man. Give the thief your coat, if he wants to take it. Love all your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. There is no reward for simply loving those who love you.
Last, I think He would tell us to be His helpers and judge not along the way. He would encourage us to be like my neighbor, Joni. She spends time in the Holy Bible daily and lives her life with deliberate direction on what Jesus wants. She is the welcoming committee and opens her arms to make new neighbors feel connected and loved. She finds the meek and needy, and hungry, and serves them. She organizes meals, walks dogs, plants bible studies, gathers thoughtful gifts, songs and stories and welcomes you to her front porch rocker for friendly, open conversation. She tells people about Jesus, not in a self-righteous vein, but in the way He needs us to. With our hands, our feet, our mouths, and our genuine actions of love, in whatever small way we are able, where we can affect change, and we can send a ripple of hope into the world.
The anxiety caused by the real time problems today can be overwhelming, but it takes a back seat when faith is at the wheel. My writer friend Sara said it best, “If you are feeling fearful, or contentious, know that it is not coming from a source of light.” Those feelings may be valid, with all that you are being told and forced to decide. But recognize that they are not healthy, or necessary. Take a step back, look for the larger picture of peace, and try to find the light that is inside of you that leads to that end. It is there, and it is more needed than ever.
My best pandemic advice: Do not sit in judgement on masks, or vaccines, or political beliefs, because these are things that will pass, problems from a society that is broken and often misguided, focused on the wrong matters. Don’t stick your head in the sand, or live under a rock, but keep all that you learn in proper perspective. Mostly, just be like Jesus, and Joni.