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Respect Others and Yourself

Since the onslaught of the Covid-19 disease in 2020 and 2021, people have been falling out with one another. Families, churches, and business people who once got along well are now separated because they disagree about vaccines, masks, or treatment. It's time for Faith Leaders to stand up and remind everyone-on both sides of every question-what the Bible says.


People are Valuable


People are valuable to God, and He expects us to treat them as such. Ephesians 4:32 tells us, be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. The Greek word that is translated sake means position. So, it says, Even as God for Christ (the Anointed One’s) position, hath forgiven you. One reason God has forgiven you is because He couldn’t use you to build His kingdom if He hadn’t. God wants you to be part of collecting as many people into His family as possible.


Kindness is part of respect. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines respect as to view or consider with some degree of reverence; to esteem as possessing real worth.

God's Word instructs us to be kind and respectful to everyone because they are all valuable to Him, and they are due our respect whether or not they agree with us.


Do Your Research and Make Your Decisions


As Faith Leaders, we should encourage people to pray, go to the Word, do their research, and make their own health decisions. They should not rely on what they hear on social media or the news media. They shouldn’t put their trust in a politician or a government. People think the government is looking out for them, but 1 Samuel, Chapter 8, teaches us the truth. Kings and governments look out for themselves, not individuals. The Israelites decided they wanted a king like everyone else. Until this point in their history, God had been their King. He provided for them, protected them, and advanced them. The prophet Samuel warned them that they would regret it if they chose a human king over God. He told them the king would take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. (1 Samuel 8:13-17)


So, this is not a Republican versus Democrat issue; it is a personal choice issue, and as Faith Leaders, we should respect one another’s choices.

To help my congregation make informed decisions, I had them take their electronic devices and go to the CDC website one Sunday. It said 166 million people had been fully vaccinated (at that time), and 8,054 people were hospitalized or died from the virus after receiving the vaccine. Of course, no vaccine prevents illness 100% of the time. We looked at other statistics-some from the CDC and some from Johns Hopkins University. My point was there is ample evidence on both sides of the vaccine question. If you want to live a safe life, don't look to the government or even a medical procedure. The only way to do it is by dwelling in the secret place of the Most High. (Psalm 91)


You Must Always Use Faith and Walk in Love


We must respect one another. No one is foolish for taking the vaccine, and no one is evil if they choose not to. We must walk in love and use our faith whether we've been vaccinated or not. Do not allow fear to lead you. Don't get a vaccine because of fear, and don't deny one because of fear either. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (I John 4:18)

You are out of fellowship with God if you're not walking in love, and your faith won't work. After all, faith worketh by love. (Galatians 5:6) Without faith, Covid-19 can kill a person whether they’ve been vaccinated or not. And without love, your faith won’t work. So, do your research, pray, and encourage others to do the same. Don’t live in fear. Instead, live in faith and walk by love. Respect others and respect yourself by following what God tells you to do.

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