I’ve seen a lot of selflessness through the COVID crisis.
I’ve also seen a lot of self-righteousness.
Perhaps what has bothered me the most is the disregard for others, the attitude that “I should get to carry on with my life and not be inconvenienced because of people who are vulnerable.”
We see people who have been identified most at-risk as vulnerable and weak. Instead of a willingness to do what we can to strengthen and encourage them with our actions, we almost blame “them.” The disease will affect them, not us. They need to take precautions, not us. They need to stay isolated, not us. We distance ourselves from others, and sometimes, it’s not in the context of a pandemic. It’s just more pronounced right now. We’re surprised by some people’s responses, but many people’s responses simply confirm what we suspected. Character is revealed.
This disease is impacting everyone. Even if you and I don’t get sick, we experience other effects. This disease does not affect them. We belong in the same community as them. We separate ourselves from them so that we are not vulnerable. Instead of a posture of self-righteousness, we can choose compassion. Someone else’s weakness—someone we will probably never specifically know—can spur us to help instead of harden us with stubbornness. Because of someone’s weakness, you and I can help—with our resources, our actions in how we protect others, and the encouragement we provide them.
And we can refuse to tolerate self-righteousness. We might not be able to change some people’s attitudes or actions, but we don’t have to approve or participate.
You are either choosing to walk alongside others in your community or choosing yourself. Maybe we’re not walking alongside others physically, but we are certainly doing so (or refusing to do so) relationally.
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)