Our country continues to find new ways to polarize us. Now we are being split into two categories: Vaxxed” and “Masked.” It is tempting for vaccinated people to label the unvaccinated as ignorant and not realize that there could legitimate reasons for someone not to be vaccinated. Likewise, it is tempting for unvaccinated people to label those vaccinated as fearful or just following the crowd and not realize that there are many good reasons to be persuaded to take the vaccine.
As Christians, God tells us that self righteousness and judgmentalism are sinful.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Rom 12:2-3 ESV)
The world wants to conform us to its pattern of always thinking we are right and judging others who disagree with us. But as Christians, we should not think of ourselves as always being right, but rather with sound judgment, seek to walk in wisdom with the faith that God has given us. Certainly, this means talking through things with godly, trusted friends (I recently did a devotional on that). But as the church of Jesus, we should be a radical counter culture where it doesn’t matter what someone has done about the vaccine. What matters to us should be encouraging one another to walk by faith in Christ.
It is becoming more and more normalized to ask, “So, have you been vaccinated yet?” Now, with all we have been through this past year, it can certainly seem reasonable to ask about this as vaccinations help us on the road to recovery. But how would we feel if someone asked us, “So what was your income last year?” That would be a fairly intrusive question, wouldn’t it? Now, if they were a friend and you were discussing together how to honor God with your finances, that question would make sense. However, if that question came out of the blue or with a casual acquaintance, that question would be completely inappropriate. Even with a close friend, you’d be well within reason to say, “I don’t feel comfortable discussing that with you,” as you could have many valid reasons for keeping your finances private. Shouldn’t the same principle apply when it comes to our health decisions?
I’ve heard the argument that people should have the right to know about a person’s vaccination status since there is safety at risk. But is that a valid concern? According to the latest CDC study, approximately 101 million Americans have been fully vaccinated as of April. Of those vaccinated, there have been only 995 reports of hospitalizations and 160 deaths. While every death is sad and tragic, if you do the math, that breaks down to about a 1 in a million chance that you’ll die from COVID after receiving the vaccine. Also, the data shows that the rate of transmission is almost negligible from vaccinated people. So vaccinated people are doubtful to get, or give, COVID. No wonder the CDC has removed their mask recommendation for vaccinated people. Also, the data from the American Association of Pediatrics shows that between 0.1%-1.9% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization and 0.00%-0.03% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death. So it is clear why they state, “severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children”. So if you are vaccinated, there doesn’t seem to be a reason for your safety, or the safety of others, that you would need to know someone else’s vaccination status.
Therefore, my appeal is that we would continue to be a community that is charitable with one another and diverse in our points of view while being united in our common faith. In this culture, which is rife with division, may our unity bring honor to Christ and shine His light to those around us.
Grace and peace,