Regarding the wearing of masks during this bizarre period of shutdown, some may make an argument that they will wear a mask in order to make others not feel uncomfortable. And in saying this they believe they are doing the “Christian” thing. In making this claim, they will refer to 1 Corinthians 10: 23-30 in which Paul, depending upon the circumstances and the person delivering the meat sacrificed to idols, will either eat of it or not. To apply this universally to all aspects of life , including the wearing of masks, is a miss application of this scripture. To do so does not line up with anything else in the Bible.
Paul makes it clear that as far as God is concerned it makes no difference whether the meat is sacrificed to idols or not. The decision is only based on how it will influence the weak consciences of others. The error made in comparing the wearing of masks to this example is that Paul is referring to the religious conscience of another person who deems meat sacrificed to idols as a great offense against God. This is of significantly greater import than merely the matter of making the other person feel comfortable or uncomfortable. There are many things that we all do that make people feel comfortable or uncomfortable and to apply this scripture to every single one of them would drive us all insane. Also, by writing this in Corinthians, to these immature believers, he is encouraging them to move beyond these outdated religious concerns of meat sacrificed to idols to a higher liberality with God. He makes it clear that Christ has done away with these religious concerns. But again, the wearing of a mask in order to not make someone else feel uncomfortable in Walmart is on a much lower level, and is of no religious significance or matter of conscience.
And how do you know that you not wearing a mask makes someone else feel uncomfortable? Did you ask them? It may make some feel uncomfortable, or it may make others feel more comfortable, or many people won’t care either way. Consider that by not wearing a mask it will actually give people courage to live by reason rather than cower in irrational fear. Courage is a Christian virtue, cowardice is not. People who are wearing a mask are not doing so to honor God, they are doing it out of fear of a virus or of a tyrannical government. Irrational fear is the tool of Satan. It is our job as Christians to give people courage, to teach them to fear the Lord and not to irrationally fear invisible enemies. We mustn’t let a false concern about people’s comfort cover-up our own desire for comfort or our own cowardice to stand up for the truth and sanity.
The wearing of a mask does not project compassion but rather it projects fear and it confirms fear. More damaging than the virus is the fear of the virus and while you are highly unlikely to spread the virus by not wearing a mask you are most certainly spreading the fear. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This quote is even more applicable today than when it was delivered during the Great Depression. Fear is paralyzing; fear can make you ill; fear is the true invisible enemy and it is fear that is sucking the life out of our existence today. When you take off your mask you are saying to people “I am not afraid” and this is encouraging and empowering. It is the courage that you provide, the positive attitude, that is a great antidote to illness. The wearing of the masks both physically and mentally is making people sicker.
Those who say “I do not want to make others feel uncomfortable” are really making a statement about themselves in that they don’t want to make themselves feel uncomfortable. They feel uncomfortable when they think other people are judging them (which they do not know) because they are not conforming. It is more about fitting in, and making the shopping experience easier, than in making others feel uncomfortable. Paul, the writer of Corinthians, and the other apostles, throughout the book of Acts, made people feel very uncomfortable every place they went. Making people comfortable is not what being a Christian is all about but it is rather delivering the liberty of the gospel which to most people is extremely uncomfortable to hear.
And who in the Bible or where in the Bible do we find anyone doing what they do in order to make others feel “comfortable”. Even the Holy Spirit, referred to as “The Comforter”, came down to the disciples at the day of Pentecost and do you think that the tongues of fire made everyone feel comfortable or uncomfortable? The Holy Spirit can bring comfort to the believer but to the unbeliever He brings nothing but terror. Jesus made people more uncomfortable than any other person in the Bible. He made the Pharisees so uncomfortable that they sought daily of how they could trap Him and in the end nailed Him to a cross. Do we want to be like Christ or do we want to make people feel comfortable? When the disciples were sent out by Christ to the surrounding towns was their commission to provide comfort or to preach the truth and if not accepted they were to wipe the dust off their feet as a testimony against them.
But our modern day contemporary Christian church has turned comfort into a virtue. From the faceless music they sing, to the cafes, to the comfy seats, to the beautiful buildings, to the soft sermons and overall shallowness, everything is designed to make the attendees feel comfortable. If they don’t feel comfortable they won’t come back next Sunday. Jesus is “A Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense” to the unbeliever, not a comfort. We are to be living stones in the same manner as Christ – 1 Peter 2:4-8. God is a God of life and a God of liberty. It is not compassionate to show solidarity with the sheep and quiver in fear so as to not make them feel uncomfortable.