Masks were used in the 1600’s plague by doctorsand in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic by the public. Meriam-Webster defines a mask as-a protective covering for the face; a comparable device to prevent exhalation of infectious material. Masks have been around for a long time. With COVID-19, the wearing of masks has resurfaced and has become a divisive topic among church goers. Both sides seem passionate about their choice. I have been a Christian for about 40 years and I have not witnessed a division like this before. Admittedly, school choices, hymn versus choruses, and vaccinations have caused some divisions. These topics might have been as divisive, but with time I probably have lost my perspective of their intensity and these choices didn’t include frequent visual reminders.
As I have tried to understand the importance of wearing masks and the importance of not wearing masks, I found myself doing some soul searching. I was frustrated at first. Then I began asking God, “Why do I struggle with church goers that choose differently than I have chosen in the area of mask wearing?” This question led to God revealing some areas in my own life that He wanted to bring to my attention for the purpose of transformation.
I realized I was concerned with what others would think of me. I wasn’t fitting in. I did hear comments at church that were painful from people that chose differently. I sensed condescending looks. Others opinions of me as opposed to honoring God’s direction and honoring my husband brought the sting of rejection. But God reminded me the importance of how I am to live to please Him and not others. My value and worth come from Him and not others (Eph 3:16-19).
I also sensed feelings of pride creep in. I thought I had researched this topic using reliable sources. I could sense I felt superior to others that chose differently. This pride led to an emerging judgmental attitude. God reminded me that I do not know everything. I do not know why specific people choose to wear or not wear a mask. There is one Lawgiver and Judge (James 4:12)…which is God and not me. There are so many unknowns about COVID-19 that time may reveal that validate one stance over the other.
These sins I confessed to God and received His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). I think Satan would love to use mask wearing to divide the church. To get us focused on ourselves and our needs. To disobey His Word to accomplish our agendas. Satan is the real enemy. However, I think God wants to use wearing a mask or not to refine us. To let us see what is really going on in our souls. COVID-19 didn’t create these sins fueling the divisions, it just was God’s tool to bring these sins to the surface.
This pandemic may be one of the tools God is using to purify souls. What would God say to you if you asked Him to search your heart and show you any wicked ways in you (Psa 139:23-24) on why you struggle with why others choose differently than you on whether to wear a mask or not? Or what would He say to you why you struggle in any other area where others choose differently than you? Confess any sins today He reveals and walk with humility and grace with those that choose differently than you.
 Virginia Postrel, “Pandemics Come and Go But Medical Masks Are Eternal: An illustrated timeline shows how they have brought us together, not kept us apart, over the last 400 years,” Bloomberg, April 10, 2020, accessed July 14, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-04-10/medical-face-masks-an-illustrated-history.
 Betty Little, “When Mask-Wearing Rules in the 1918 Pandemic Faced Resistance,” May 6, 2020, accessed July 14, 2020, https://www.history.com/news/1918-spanish-flu-mask-wearing-resistance#:~:text=Masks%20Were%20Made%20of%20Gauze,the%20pandemic%20flu%20in%201918.&text=In%201918%2C%20advanced%20masks%20like,were%20made%20of%20gauze%20too.