Wrobleski ‘choosing faith over fear’

Published 7:08 pm Friday, September 17, 2021

By Brandon Wrobleski

I hope the chapter of history in which strangers question each other’s manhood over personal health decisions is ending. I know COVID is real. I have compassion for the families who have suffered or even experienced loss. The effects are devastating. I accept this reality. But I am still unafraid. Somebody has to be unafraid.

I’ve received every major vaccine previously recommended, but I won’t disclose my COVID vaccination status — the rhetoric is too overheated. My stances are mine alone, and I don’t think they make me a superior citizen or Christian. I accept personal decisions on either side of the fence. I would simply like to be extended the same grace.

“If you love your neighbor, wear a mask and get vaccinated.” 2021’s newest parable originates in the gospels of Christ but omits important context. The command to “love thy neighbor” follows the Greatest Commandment to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. But nobody using the “love thy neighbor” message for COVID mitigation purposes completes the analogy and shows how loving the Lord is evidenced by wearing a mask or getting a vaccine. Instead, we hear a sanitized, human-centric “if you don’t do these things, you don’t care about others.” This is a false choice. Mitigation measures are well-intentioned, but I believe that to love my neighbor is to declare that Christ’s victory over fear, sickness and death is the antidote to fear. Arguing that loving your neighbor means complying with mitigation measures suggests that a person only fulfills God’s Greatest Commandment by taking up the symbols of fear of a disease, without evidence that they have the disease or are even remotely dangerous to others. This is a heartbreaking misunderstanding of true servanthood.

Servanthood is Christ welcoming and praying for the sick, laying hands on them and healing them. Christ did not tell the man to stay put on his mat of paralysis and immobility. He healed the man and told him to pick up the mat and walk. Nobody should be judged or held in lesser regard if COVID strikes fear. But God’s word does not condone the validation of and participation in fear. It proclaims valuable truth about how perfect love casts out fear.

According to 1 John 4, the “love” in “love your neighbor” means overcoming fear, not accepting it. Fear is like quicksand — it seizes, paralyzes and overwhelms. It is neither loving nor wise to place one’s own feet in the quicksand under the guise of empathy. I will gladly place my feet on solid ground and lend a hand if called or able.

Leprosy was a severe, contagious disease, yet Jesus touched, hugged and healed lepers. And I am called to be like Him. I don’t think I’m God, but I try my best to emulate Jesus. The calculation is simple: I am a new creation in Christ, and Christ willingly exposed himself to the sick. I will follow that example and choose faith that I am protected from today’s sickness. I choose faith that Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals, designed for me a healthy body that can overcome a Greek alphabet full of variants. I’m not rejecting vaccines or other treatments — I simply choose faith first.

Today’s mandates supposedly promote health, but instead they perpetuate a mindset of fear, sickness and death. Jesus’ final victory over fear, sickness and death through His death and resurrection prevents me from participating in a system which will condition me to be fearful and sick. For me, health begins with faith, and manhood is choosing faith over fear.

 

Brandon Wrobleski is a grateful husband and father of two who is blessed to do a job he loves in a city he loves. The views expressed here are his own, and do not represent those of any other person or entity. Contact him at btw@fastmail.com.