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The Threat of Social Distancing

Posted on April 24, 2020 at 12:10 AM

Dear Saints,

 

Covid-19 is a nasty virus that some say was an intentional attack on the world and especially the U.S. economy by the Chinese government in retaliation for U. S. policies that hurt China’s economy. Whatever the reason it was released, this virus is like an invisible enemy that seeks to destroy us personally as well as physically. Not only does it threaten our health, but the recommended precautions have taken a toll on us personally and spiritually as well. Especially damaging are the “social distancing” policies prohibiting physical contact with others and eliminating group gatherings.

 

Although necessary to prevent the spread of this virus, these policies are not only costly in the financial realm, but also in the relational realm. The social distancing required to preserve our health takes a heavy toll on our sense of worth as persons and put a heavy strain on our relationships. For instance, those who are in high risk situations such as nursing homes and rehab centers are isolated from friends and family at a time when they need their love and support the most. But that’s just the “tip of the iceberg”. Each of us has experienced some degree of isolation in ways we may not recognize but put a subtle strain on our relationships. Warm greetings of handshakes, hugs, and kisses have been forbidden. Even smiles have been covered over by protective masks.

 

The ways we practice the social distancing policies are, themselves, a source of stress in our everyday lives. Simply leaving your house makes you suspect never mind entering a store without gloves and a mask. We naturally judge people we encounter on the basis of their appearance alone and tend to view everyone as an “unclean leper”. The physical distance of six feet becomes six miles of mental distance as our normal fear of becoming sick turns into a host of destructive anxieties. Fear is a natural response to a perceived threat in the here and now. Anxiety is the same response to a possible threat in the future. The vast majority of what we worry about never happens. Statistical evidence reveals a 98% recovery rate for those who have the virus and that the vast majority of us will not be infected. But anxiety says you or your loved ones will get infected and die.

 

Although the Covid-19 virus is real, a more serious threat to us is the anxiety that not only destroys our economy, but also our relationships. Paul gives us a “vaccine” for worry in Philippians 4: 6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Rather than allow our lives to be dictated by anxieties and worry during this time we need the peace that comes from God. Ask him daily to tell you who you are as his beloved child and follow his “precautions” for you and your family.

 

John

 

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