The Ethical Implications of the Coronavirus

How are you acting and reacting to others in this on-going pandemic? As Christians, we are challenged to live according to the ethical standards of Jesus. This is not as easy as it might sound. Daily applying the biblical lessons we have learned is a rigorous test of our faithfulness and love. Life has grown even more complicated in our time of Covid. What is the greatest ethical teaching according to Christ? Luke 10:27, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

I was confronted with my own set of ethical Covid challenges this past week. On Friday I was notified that I had been exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid-19. I had spent prolonged time over a few days with the person who had taken ill on Wednesday night. Now what are we supposed to do? The general rule is to be prayerfully honest with yourself about your situation. Tell anyone you had close contact with to allow them to assess their own circumstances. Direct exposure is different than indirect exposure, depending on the length of time spent together (over 15 minutes), masked or unmasked. Next, decide if you should be tested and when. My last long exposure had been on Wednesday, now it was Friday. In a preacher’s world, Sunday is coming soon. Dorothy and I both got tested later that afternoon. We exhibited no symptoms, but that was little help in this situation since even asymptomatic persons can be contagious. The results were expected on Saturday. They did not come through on Saturday.

Here is where the temptation to take unethical next steps gets stronger. The right thing to do was to isolate until we knew what we were facing.  We rationalized, we could go to church Sunday, stay in the office, and only come out to for the worship service, and not speak to anyone up close. It is a big room after all. Or we could do the ethical thing—isolate until we knew what we were facing. We prayed, notified the appropriate people, printed a new service bulletin, and swallowed the pride of our self-importance. We learned late Sunday that we had both tested negative.  Here is my unasked-for advice: get your mask back out and wear it in public until this wave passes by. It is the ethical way to love Him—heart, body and soul.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Love your neighbor. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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