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Unmasked Freedom

With the Governor's mask mandate being lifted in Texas, every Christian will have to ask the question:  Do I wear a mask or not?  We were once bound by the "law" to wear a mask and now we are free.  What will we do with our freedom?  Will I wear a mask?  Will I burn my masks?  Will I mock those who remain masked and judge those who don't?  

Biblically, we have have freedom to wear a mask and freedom not wear a mask.  I wish I had a chapter and verse that could direct our steps in the days ahead, but there isn't a passage that hits mask wearing in the midst of a global pandemic.  There are plenty of Scriptural principles that we could apply to mask wearing, but their is no text that tells us what to do.  You know what that means?  It means that you and I are free to make our own, God-honoring decision.  We can all use our freedom in a way that honors God and helps others.

In Romans 14, we read Paul's teaching when it comes to how we can honor God and those we love as we make decisions when it comes to rightly using our Christian freedom.  This chapter is so important because it applies to so many areas in our life.  In fact it applies to every area of life that isn't directly addressed in Scripture.  These are areas (such as drinking alcohol, getting tattoos, music choices, money management, parenting practices, and even mask wearing) where two God-loving, Jesus following believers can disagree with one another and neither be wrong.  They are issues of conscience or conviction.  Speaking of masks, your decision is about so much more than a piece of fabric.  It is about living with Godly conviction and concern for our neighbors.   I encourage you to read Romans 14 and see for yourself the truth that Paul unpacks.  When you do, you will discover that:

  • Issues of our conscience can cause great division or disputes among people.  We should not fan the flames of this division but should accept those who have different convictions. (Romans 14:1-4)
  • We can be divided over many things that are disputable, but we are united by Jesus.  We must never forget that as Christians our bond isn't agreement 100% of the time, but it is our common need for and commitment to the grace of God.  (Romans 14:5-9)
  • When we judge, mock or condemn others because we disagree with them on disputable matters or we believe they are sinning with their action, we are the ones who are in the wrong.  If two Christians are seeking God, listening to God, obeying God, on an issue where they have freedom, then sin has not occurred until the disagreement turns to judgement, condemnation and mockery.  Simply put, when I think someone is a sinning because they are using their freedom different than me then I am the one with the sin issue, not them.  And I, not them, will have to account to God for my actions.  (Romans 14:12)
To this point in Romans 14, Paul gives the believer in Jesus freedom and permission 
to do what ever their conscience allows in areas that aren't directly addressed by the Bible.  Then, he makes a sharp turn to remind us of our responsibility to one another.  We must consider others and how our use of our Christian liberty affects them.
  • We should strive to not make others "stumble" or sin with our actions.  Where we disagree on disputable matters, we should not put any obstacles in their way that would cause them to go against their conscience or to judge us for ours.  (Romans 14:13)
  • We should limit our freedom when it affects people negatively.  The principle here is that we are to act in love in all things.  If our freedom hurts others, who have different convictions than us, then we should limit our freedom when we are with them for their benefit.  (Romans 14:14-18)
  • We can and should make an efforts to live at peace with one another and to benefit one another in all that we do because our lives aren't defined by disputable things but about the work of God in us and through us.  We should not let division on disputable issues divide the body of Christ.  (Romans 14:19-21)
  • We can keep our convictions between ourselves and the Lord.  We don't have to make bold statements.  We don't have to post and repost on social media.  We don't have a point to prove.  We can simply live our convictions before God and honor those who do the same even if (especially if) they disagree with us.
So, with this view of Christian freedom, here is my personal conviction and application when it comes to wearing a mask.
  • I won't always wear a mask, but I will always have a mask with me.
  • When connecting with those who are not wearing mask, neither will I.
  • When I see someone that I want to connect with who is wearing a mask, I will wear my mask and I will go to them and talk with them.  I won't let our difference in conviction come between our relationship and I won't make them come to my conviction, I will move to theirs because that is the way of peace and love.
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