Can We “Honor” the  COVID-19 Rule-Makers?

Everyone is annoyed at times by a stupid rule or a bad decision by a leader. But lately, conservative Christian responses to government rules look and sound about the same as non-Christian attitudes on the political right: they’re dominated by anger, harsh judgments of motives, mockery, and defiance.

Sanctimonious defiance is still really just defiance. If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still… etc., etc.

Christians are called to better attitudes—ones fueled by a different focus. Keeping some realities in mind may help chill the anger and judgmentalism and foster something closer to our duty to “honor all” and “honor the king” (1 Pet 2:17, KJV).

Reality 1: All rules are stupid at the margins.

Observing how life works can lead to wisdom (Prov 24:32, 8:1-3). Observe that mailing or transmitting your tax return at one second past 11:59:59 PM on tax day is late. Going 70.00001 mph in a 70 mph zone is, technically, a violation. One second before midnight on the eve of your 18th birthday, you’re a minor and you can’t join the Army. One second later, you’re an adult, and you can.

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Honoring Our Mistakes

I was 18, working on an Associates Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology at our local community college in Cicero, IL. Then—in the beginning of my second year of a two-year program—I sensed a clear call to ministry. What should I do? I knew: I completed my degree. Enrolling in the AAS program was not actually a mistake, but it was not where God was continuing to take me. Yet I had made a commitment and had seen too many examples of people who vacillated in one direction and then another. I did not want to be in that number. Besides, my family and friends already thought I had lost my mind when I told them I had become a born-again Christian and changed the way I lived. I did not want to give them more ammunition to bolster the idea that I had gone off the deep end.

There are occasions in life when we feel we have committed ourselves, but the original commitment was a mistake. If our commitment was to something overtly sinful, we know that God wants us to repent and abandon it. There are times when we must cut our losses. For example, investing good money after bad in an attempt to avoid loss can be a foolish action. I discourage “loss-avoidance” thinking; it is a natural but often foolish way to think.

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