Caught amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we tend to think this is the first one. The truth is Christians have lived through many.
Today, the responses to the pandemic spread across the spectrum from hoax to disaster. But, Christians differed from emperors and pundits in other pandemics.
Here are a few examples:
- The first hospitals built by Christians came in times of plague that killed millions. Their goal was to care for the sick.
- In the 4th Century, a plague took hold of the Roman Empire. Julian, the Roman emperor, complained that “the Galileans” took care of people who did not share their beliefs.” Pontianus, a church historian, said that Christians “did good to all men, not merely to the household of faith.”
- 1527, the bubonic plague came to Wittenberg, Germany, the home of Martin Luther. He refused to flee like so many others. Instead, he said, “the plague does not dissolve our duties: It turns them to crosses, on which we must be prepared to die.”
Jesus taught an essential principle that withstands all debates. It is true in all circumstances, including pandemics.
Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39)
The merits of medicine can face debate and examination. Christian principles are not open to the same debate. Christian look out for the needs of others above their own.
So, how are you showing “love for neighbor” today?
-Robert G. Taylor-