Bob Goff is a fantastic motivational, Christian speaker and author. I have read two of his books (Love Does, and Everybody Always), and I am excited to read his latest book, Dream Big. One of the things that stuck out in my mind is how adventurous Bob is. For instance, I remember in one of his books, a story he told of how he and a friend snuck into a Washington DC museum where National Treasure the movie was being filmed and met Nicolas Cage. After hearing this, I remember being on a tour of an old colonial-times home and there was a rope across the stairwell with a sign “DO NOT ENTER”. I wanted to step over that rope and climb the stairs to see what was up there. Of course, I did not act on that impulse because deep down, I am more of a rule-follower, especially, with actual laws. Since, I have this fear of getting into trouble, I often choose to comply even if I do not agree with the rule.
With that said, Although I am more of a rule-follower than I am a rebel, there are times when I am not so quick to follow “made-up” rules or regulations. Especially, if someone or something has pronounced it as “Mandatory”. This word often sends a chill up my spine and causes my defensive mode to ignite. Some examples: I have had previous church members tell me that I am NOT saved if I do not speak in tongues; I have seen emails to attend “mandatory” volunteer meetings (which is an oxymoron-the word, “volunteer” means I choose to help); and more recently, my work is trying to assign me to work specific hours when I am PRN –(which means: Pro re nata: As needed. I do not work if there is not a need, and I set my own schedule). Finally, the last example is being told I “must” wear a mask.
Now, before I continue to write why this last one is an issue for me, I want to make it clear that ALL my readers have a right to their opinion, and this is NOT meant as a way to persuade anyone to think the way I think. Hence, do I believe a retail business owner has the right to ask me to put on a mask? Absolutely! But do I also recognize my right to NOT shop there if I do not want to wear one? Of Course! This is Not a blog about whether a person should wear a mask or not wear a mask. We all have reasons why we are either Nay or Yay on this topic. However, as a believer in Christ, whether I agree with it or not, I will put my mask on when asked to do so by a friend, neighbor, co-worker, family member, and/or business owner because showing the love of Christ is more important than my personal thoughts about it. However, it is the “mandate” that I am against because our governmental leaders have disregarded the importance of human relationships and replaced it with forced compliance in following their rules.
To explain, we are required to separate with mask and social distancing which is the opposite of what the Bible teaches. According to Open Bible.info, there are a 100 verses pertaining to gathering together (To name a few: Matthew 18:20, Hebrews 10:25, & Acts 2:1-47). Since we are designed for relationships, these restrictions are harming us spiritually, emotionally, and yes, even physically. To further clarify, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 states: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.”
Ultimately, rules should not replace our Creator’s plan for us to be together. When we gather, embrace, hold hands, dance, and sing our emotional health is encouraged; our spiritual needs are edified; and our physical connections are fulfilled. Finally, apart we are weak - together we are strong! Josh McDowell once said, “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion”. My prayer: May the value of togetherness trump the rules of separation-Amen.