It was only a couple of months ago, as cases of COVID-19 were declining and things were slowly starting to feel normal, that we asked readers to reflect on the lessons learned from the suffering and challenges of all the months of lockdowns and masks and Zoom and all the rest.
Now, as cases begin to climb again with a new variant of the disease, as masks begin to reappear in some places, as continued disagreement over things like vaccines simmer among us, and as patience wears thin, fostered by the lurking fear that we may be heading in the wrong direction, it’s important to go back to those lessons we’ve learned, particularly from the things we could have done better.
One simple lesson that is worth recalling is having patience and remembering the humanity of those we may disagree with, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. So many hard words have been spoken and wounds opened in the Body of Christ over the past year and a half. People are scared. People are confused. People are struggling to know who to trust. People are struggling to separate fact from fiction.
So extend mercy and grace. Assume good will. Do these things even when it’s hard — that’s when it counts the most. Try to understand in a charitable way what is motivating people. Pick your battles. Seek to convince and encourage rather than to coerce and condemn and ridicule.
And yes, try to act in everyone’s best interests.
Finding the right answers is difficult, but trusting in God and loving and forgiving our brothers and sisters is the way we will truly come through this together.