TO MASK, OR NOT TO MASK?
To mask, or not to mask? That’s the big question around our community in East Tennessee over the last few days and weeks. It seems that no matter which side of this topic that you may find yourself, it opens you up for debate, attack, and ridicule. I have seen some of the people I most admire, many of them who are pastors or business leaders, take to social media to let us know which side of the debate that they fall on and often let us know why we should agree with them.
So which side do I fall on? I do have some opinions. But you see, the most important thing for me is to win hearts and minds to the Gospel. Everything that I put out on social media, through this blog, through our podcast, and through our messages is with that goal in mind. Now I admittedly miss the mark at times, but the goal is the gospel.
The idea of whether or not to wear a mask is polarizing. Like, there is almost literally a 50/50 split it seems from the people whom I associate with either in person or from afar on social media. And trust me, my opinion is not likely to change yours. Here’s a secret… your opinion isn’t going to change anyone’s either.
The reality is that this isn’t about masks. This is about civility. You may claim it’s your constitutional right to choose whether you wear a mask or not. Or, maybe you hold the view that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that masks are mandated in order to protect the vulnerable in society. Maybe you believe it is your civic duty to make sure the rights to choose to wear a mask or not remain intact. Or maybe you think it is shirking a responsibility to society if you don’t wear a mask. Here’s a secret. I do agree with one of these sides.
Here is one thought first though. I don’t believe that whether or not we wear a mask has any impact on the truth of the gospel. No matter which side we choose, we will offend half of those in our community. My hope is that as a church we are maximizing every opportunity we get to show Jesus to somebody. Again, I often miss the mark on this but when I have time to sit back and think before I speak it certainly makes it easier to be all about the gospel.
In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul is discussing the rights he has a believer and an apostle but he views the gospel as bigger than those rights. He puts it this way in 9:19 “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.” It’s all about the gospel for us as believers. Do you have the right to wear a mask? Sure. Do you have the right not to? Sure. Is it worth going to battle over? Probably not. It’s not worth losing the respect with some people and costing us the possibility of sharing the gospel.
This principle should play out in all areas of our life that are not gospel sensitive. In much of politics, societal norms, and other areas of life we have differing opinions but they aren’t necessarily gospel sensitive areas. The one caveat that I would state is this… when the debate does revolve around an issue that we believe the Bible stands on then we should be vocal about our positions. Abortion, LGBTQ issues, racial tensions, financial inequalities, and many other areas are topics in which we should be willing to take a stand for the gospel. But masks? That just seems like something that isn’t worth fighting over when the opportunity to share the gospel may hang in the balance.
So yes, I have certain opinions about masks. I believe that my opinions are fairly well informed and I have come to those conclusions after a fair amount of consideration. But which side do I fall on? I’m not telling. The opportunity to share the gospel with you is just too important.
Now with that being said, if you attend Northview Church we are encouraging you to wear a mask if you attend during the month of July. We will not mandate it unless you are a leader or a volunteer. With the county wide mandate that was issued by our mayor, even though houses of worship are exempt, we simply feel it is best to support those in authority unless it is a gospel sensitive issue like mentioned above. So with that said, come worship with us. Wear a mask if you’re willing. But if you’re not for whatever reason, we still want to see you there this Sunday!
- Pastor Greg