If Paul were here today, I think Romans 14 would read, “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith leads them to wear masks, but another does not wear masks. The one who wears a mask must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not wear a mask must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.”
It’s crazy to me how divisive a small piece of cloth has been. Actually, “crazy” is not the right word. “Sad” would be more appropriate. Sad because what we have learned is that anything can divide the people of God.
Brett McCracken, an editor for the Gospel Coalition, says, “I also hate that the mask has become such a divisive symbol, with the masked and the masked-nots assuming the worst about each other: that mask-wearers are fearful, cosmopolitan elites or that mask-avoiders are science-hating MAGA bumpkins who prefer their freedom over Grandma’s life. It’s silly that it’s come to this: division over masks. But I’m not surprised. Everything in our world today is divisive.”
I want to remind us of Jesus’ prayer in John 17—a prayer I can only imagine him still praying and waiting for today: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”
This call for unity goes way beyond avoiding judgmental spirits and snide remarks (though certainly if we cannot show kindness and respect in disagreement, Jesus’ prayer goes unfulfilled). This goes beyond reluctantly committing to keeping the peace for a couple of hours each week. No, Jesus says that we—you and me—are to be one in the same way that the Father and the Son are one. This is a loftier and weightier call than “please don’t fight at church.”
So while Christian leaders all over the country are imploring others to not judge and argue over masks, our call is actually more than that. Seek to be together, as brothers and sisters, in the same way that the Father and the Son are together.