The ramifications of this COVID-19 season have been extensive. Suicide rates. Domestic violence. Child abuse. Lives lost. Fears raised. The list could go on and on. One of the most heartbreaking effects of this season has been the extreme polarization of opinions. “It’s time to open up California, NOW!” “Keep the doors closed; it’s not safe!” “Wear a mask all-the-time, everywhere.” “Masks are unnecessary and unscientifically proven as helpful.” “Distance learning is here to stay.” “Return to schools in the fall or risk major mental health crises.” The differing opinions on subjects spread all across the COVID spectrum. It’s not enough that people believe different things, it is taken to the next level of chastising, shaming, calling out and bullying those who do not agree with your opinion. It has to stop.
Top off the extremely polarizing climate with the unfathomable tragedies of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, to name a few. Unconscionable. I have no words. Lives senselessly lost. And yet debates on social injustice and “black lives matter” in contrast to “police just doing their jobs” ensue. The opportunities to ignite polarizing debates are endless. Rather than engage in the heated debates and provide one more opinion (be it right or wrong), let’s focus on what we need to be teaching our children, as their parents, in this season. This is NOT to turn a blind eye to the differences, discrepancies and discrimination surrounding us. Quite the contrary. It is to face these divides how God would want us to.
1 Corinthians 13 is known as the chapter all about love. When you hone in on verse 13 in 1 Corinthians 13 there are three key takeaways for our children, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Faith – through all of the uncertainties that COVID-19 has brought, may our faith be unwavering.
The phase we are in for re-opening, even the data and researching surrounding COVID-19 seem to continually change. But, what Jesus Christ did for us more than 2000 years ago has never changed. How He feels about us and His presence in our lives has not changed. Who He was, is and will be is the same always and forever. Thus, our faith in who He is must remain steadfast. That is not to say that you or your children cannot have doubts, fears, worries or anxieties. These are all par for the course during a pandemic. They are real, human emotions. But thankfully we know, believe in and follow a God who was so human that He can fully relate to what we are feeling yet is almighty and powerfully compassionate to our woes. May we teach our kids to have a faith in what never changes even when everything here on Earth seems to be changing.
Hope – again this may be easier said than done.
There have been some dark storms over the last few months. Yet, there is still the hope that this too shall pass. There is still hope that better days are ahead. There is still hope that the quarantine, the lives lost, the hatred and the division will go away. Our hope, most certainly, rests in Jesus. Our hope also rests in you and I. We can be spreaders of hope in what we say and do. It can be teaching our kids to smile at people as you go on a walk. It can be that extra word of appreciation and encouragement to the store clerk who’s worked tirelessly at restocking and meeting the needs of distraught customers. Hope can be an email, handwritten note or text sent off to someone who could use a ray of sunshine. There is hope in front of us, that is for sure.
Love – what 1 Corinthians 13:13 says is true, “…the greatest of these is love.”
Earlier in 1 Corinthians 13 it reminds us that anything we do, if it is absent of love, is basically useless. Without love, our actions and words are meaningless. Love has to undergird what we say, how we behave and who we are. Demonstrate love in your household, even and especially when you are frazzled, exhausted and just plain over it. Spread love when you feel like you so desperately could use some love yourself. Receive the love that can only come from God, unconditional and ever-present in good and bad times. Love is a powerful force to be reckoned with. No divisive political opinions nor COVID-19 can destroy it. Stand firm, stand strong, and stand upon the Rock who is the definition and embodiment of love.
While faith, hope and love may not be curative of this atmosphere and era we are living it, they are powerful attributes to be taught. Start today to teach your child faith, hope and love not just in what you are saying but in your example. Then your model will spread to your children who in turn will shine out to others and we can start a new revolution to overtake the darkness. It’s time to shine brighter than ever before!