“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…”
1 John 4:18a
I’m saddened by the course public discussion about the Corona virus and the measures being taken to slow its spread. Grieved, actually. Though not different than the qualities of public discourse overall, it pains me a bit more when it rears up about this issue, with its wide-reaching impact and importance. As debate about when and how to reopen our economy and how to shape our public lives is engaged, it appears that we have largely, once again, run ourselves into opposite corners, click-baited into them by headlines that confirm our cognitive biases. From here, the endeavor of hurling stones from one corner into the other ensues.
“Those that don’t support passing a 3T aid package don’t care about suffering Americans!”
“Mask-wearers are sheeple who have been conned by fear-mongering sensationalist media!”
These are the words of fear, not love. This is the activity of fear, not love.
Love (not fear)seeks after the truth, not confirmation of their opinion.
Love (not fear) reads the whole article – all of the nuances of an article (well-balanced or otherwise) can’t possibly be captured in the headline.
Love (not fear) vets the source of their information to ensure that they are getting the best view of the subject.
Love (not fear) watches for when a reporter’s personal view is seeping into a story (or is overtly present).
Love (not fear) doesn’t allow politicians and talk-show hosts to supplant the consensus of health and science experts as sources of truth on medical or scientific topics. (Nor does it forget that there are multiple facets to a health-related crisis and that experts in other fields should be heard to round out understanding and refine points of view. Nor does it forget the difference between outliers in a field and consensus in a field. While outliers can bring creative new approaches, they should be handled with extreme care. They are often outliers for good reason.)
Love (not fear) wears a face mask in public when health experts advise that it can reduce the probability of transmitting the disease to your neighbor.
Love (not fear) observes social distancing guidelines as much as possible in public places for the same reason.
Love (not fear) seeks the best and most effective ways to reopen the economy, so that their neighbors can get safely back to work, pay their bills and provide for their families.
Love (not fear) understands that there are differing opinions about which timelines and methods are best for doing this, and seeks to understand these varied points of view as part of discerning which path is indeed best.
Love (not fear) knows that their neighbors are hurting financially, mentally and physically and gives or serves as they are able to help alleviate these pains and sufferings.
This is love in our present day, IMO.
Take measures. Don’t panic.
Love your neighbor always!