During the pandemic, the world experienced a type of unity during difficult and unusual circumstances. The cornerstone of the United States is its namesake—the unification of people from all walks of life. However, over the past few months, people have begun to see divisions rise because of the social implications of vaccinations.
Over the past few years, Americans have been faced with division over racial issues as well as political tension—the newest division between those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated against COVID-19. The recent vaccination debates and mandates caused protests across the country. While vaccination status creates division in the United States, it is crucial for Christians to approach this division with an eternal viewpoint—engaging with each other with grace.
It is important that Christians do not grow divided by current controversies, but rather seek to engage in conversation, understanding and peace with others. Controversial topics will always be disputed. However, it is important to remain understanding of each other when making health decisions during the pandemic season.
While it is important to keep the government accountable, it is equally important to avoid the fluid trends in the media. Fox News contributor Greg Gutfeld writes that “if Americans fight amongst themselves, the people in power escape our collective wrath about their own corruption and incompetence.”
Gutfield highlights Joe Biden’s narrative toward the unvaccinated as he does not help unite Americans but rather seems to encourage divisiveness: “We have the tools to combat COVID and a distinct minority of Americans… are keeping us from turning the corner.”
When I Googled “how many Americans are unvaccinated?,” nearly every article made negative or vague references to those who are unvaccinated, either in their headlines or decks. These media outlets are undoubtedly biased in their coverage.
There are several reasons for waiting to receive the vaccine, or not receiving a vaccination entirely. It can stem from personal health reasons, religious exemptions as well as hesitancy surrounding vaccination production. According to U.S. News, the recent divide among the vaccinated and unvaccinated increasingly became a political conversation.
As Christians, it is vital to keep an eternal mindset rather than get carried away in differences. With the focus on eternal living, those at Biola experiencing tension regarding vaccination status, should converse with each other in love, treating others with Christ-like behavior.
The Westminster Catechism explains that the goal of our lives is to “glorify God and enjoy him forever.” The purpose of life is to love God and love people. Jesus left behind the Great Commission, urging believers to go to the ends of the earth and proclaim his good news.
Paul exhorts the Romans to stay united. In Romans 12:16, it says “live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.” Romans 14:19 also encourages the Romans to “make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.” On Biola’s campus, it is important to prioritize peace, with discernment and grace toward treatment of others—regardless of vaccination status.