'Shielding Others'

Terry Walton


I Was Thinking…

The Spartans, a warrior society in ancient Greece, were feared and revered for their strength, courage and endurance.  The power of the Spartan army did not come from the sharpness of their spears, however; it came from the strength of their shields.  Losing one’s shield in battle was considered the single greatest crime a Spartan could commit.  “Spartans excuse without penalty the warrior who loses his helmet or breastplate in battle but punish the loss of all citizenship rights the man who discards his shield.”  And the reason was simple.  “A warrior carries helmet and breastplate for his own protection, but his shield for the safety of the whole line. (Simon Sinek, ‘Leaders Eat Last’, P.27)

When I read those words, I am reminded of the tension between selfishness and otherness.  I am reminded of the human tendency to rationalize anything that meets with protecting or prospering self…even if it might be against the law (human law or God’s law).  I sense that same tension building once again in our midst.

Do we re-open businesses and churches in order to curb financial hardship even if it runs at great risk the loss of human life?  No one seems to know what is best in terms of this tension, but it seems to me we must heed the words and actions of Jesus to love others above self…which is easier said, than done.  I find myself easily preaching such concepts but living them is real challenge on most days…how about you?

On Saturday, April 18, the Good News Clinic in Gainesville, Georgia tested 300 people for COVID-19.  50% tested positive.  But here is the real scare…Of the 50% that tested positive, 50% of them were asymptomatic…they had no idea they had the virus and were, unbeknownst to them, spreading the virus to whomever, wherever they went.

Let us not lose our shields for the safety of the whole line.  Someone used a justification as to their lack of need to wear a mask or to practice social distancing by saying, “I don’t know anyone who has this stuff”.  My response “That’s the point…let’s keep it that way.” 

In the between time, let us tune our ears and listen to the science and medical authorities.  I believe God speaks in many ways to us.  And in this time, God is speaking clearly through those who are gifted with wisdom to discern viruses and how a virus’s evil has only one agenda…destroy the human body.  I pray for them and I pray for us. 

I am not intending to criticize those who make hard decisions economically or otherwise…but I have this fear we are lulling ourselves into thinking the worst is over.  I hope that is the case.  My gut tells me, the worst is yet to come…Oh, how I hope I am wrong.

The writer of Proverbs talks straight to our hearts like a sword piercing our egos, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing personal opinion.” (18:2) God grant us wisdom that goes way beyond our personal opinions (mine included) and the courage to respond to your guidance.
Always Thinking…

comments powered by Disqus