What happened to love? You know, the kind where people actually care about each other? Especially in times of crisis? Like so many people, did love die of COVID? I know – so many of you are tired of hearing about face-masks. But if you think you have even an ounce of love left in you, please, keep reading.
I was at the vet’s office with Donnie, a little 15-year-old Havanese (we think), this morning. We go six days a week. It’d be seven if they were open Sundays. His kidneys are pretty much gone, but with some meds and a brief fluid injection he keeps on going. It’s been almost a year now, and he still enjoys life.
But he’s not the story here. No, the story here is what happened to love?
I wrote about this back in November 2020: A healthcare worker dies from COVID. Does anybody notice? Today, it’s a bit different. But, unfortunately, the end result is the same. COVID cases are on the rise again. And the question remains the same, does anyone notice?
But now, I need to add another question. Does anybody care?
What happened to love?
Here’s what happened this morning. I was sitting in the waiting area, waiting for Donnie to come back from getting his Sub-Q fluids. This guy, I’d guess in his forties, walks in with his dog. The receptionist, a young lady, probably mid-twenties, tells him the same thing the sign right next to the door he just walked through says. Masks are required. You know – the COVID thing? He very sarcastically asks if she means the dog has to wear a mask. Seriously? This guy’s just looking for trouble.
She politely says that he needs to wear a mask. Whereupon he says he’s not being examined, the dog is. Good grief.
He keeps on going. She’s on the edge of crying. I can’t take it anymore, so I told him, “you’re not very nice.” Then he says, “No, she isn’t.” Playing dumb isn’t an excuse to pick on a young lady half his age. So I point out, “No, you aren’t.” You have to already know the next response. It’s the one that comes out when rude people don’t know what else to say. “F___ you!” Now the receptionist has to leave the room.
Was this guy like this all his life? I kind of doubt it. There was a time when most people were at least civil. Especially in a pet hospital.
And yet, there it was. Or, in the case of love, there it wasn’t. Not even common decency. Although, common decency is, I have to say, becoming all too uncommon.
Did love die of COVID?
Christian readers will certainly remember the passage below. I hope.
22:34-40 pp — Mk 12:28-31
Mt 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Yes – Love God. Of course. But then there’s also love your neighbor as yourself. And, just in case you forgot, here’s a few words about just who is your neighbor.
10:25-28 pp — Mt 22:34-40; Mk 12:28-31
Lk 10:25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Lk 10:26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
Lk 10:27 He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’’”
Lk 10:28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Lk 10:29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Lk 10:30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
Lk 10:36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
Lk 10:37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Yes – everyone is your neighbor. Including those people we despise the most. But then, we also need to remember that we really shouldn’t despise anyone.
So what does all that mean? It means that even if this guy in the vet’s office somehow knew the receptionist, absolutely hated her for whatever reason, he still shouldn’t have said and done what he did! And let’s not forget, we shouldn’t hate anyone in the first place!
Conclusion – What happened to love?
And that’s why I ask – what happened to love? It’s not that Christians are perfect, and we all do the right things all the time. We don’t. And keep in mind, in times of crisis, and I do believe COVID is a crisis situation, most people are more loving and caring towards each other. Christians and non-Christians alike tend to rise to the occasion in times like this. But it’s not happening with COVID.
There was no concern by this man for anyone else in the room.
Not for the receptionist, who was only following the rules. And remember, the mask rule was posted on a big sign, perpendicular to the door so it can’t be missed, just before entering. So there was no intention to follow the rules. There was going to be a confrontation unless the mask rule was ignored.
There was also no concern for the little girl in the room with her mother and their dog. She wasn’t old enough to get a vaccine and probably not old enough to be expected to keep a mask on for too long either. Anyone who watches the news knows that kids are becoming victims of COVID more and more frequently with the new variant. But he didn’t care.
Also, there’s no way for him to know, but I have cancer. Can’t afford to catch COVID. Yes, I’ve been vaccinated. Yes, I had a mask on. And no, I shouldn’t have to wear a sign or be announcing to everyone that I have cancer. But guess what? Anyone who hasn’t been hiding under a rock knows that there are lots of people at risk for catching this virus, and with deadly effects. But there’s apparently no concern for anyone else who might be at risk.
And then there’s this man’s own family, presumably. Maybe he has kids? A wife? Parents? Friends or coworkers who might be more at risk? Apparently no concern there either.
Now, I know lots of people go around without masks. Some have throughout the whole thing. Some of the more vocal ones are even Christians. I still ask, where’s the love?
But to the ones who insist on making a spectacle out of berating others who do care about people, even strangers, I really have to ask – where is the love? What is it about COVID that makes someone who probably wouldn’t think of behaving like this all of a sudden think it’s OK? Or even think that somehow, making a young lady cry is OK, while all she’s doing is trying to earn a living and keep her work environment safe? Is that what it takes to be a “man” in this COVID era?
One final thought
Earlier, I wrote about not hating our enemies. For those that, for whatever reason, think it’s OK to hate enemies, here’s something Jesus said.
Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Tax collectors were probably the most despised people in Jesus’ time. They were Jews, working for the Romans, who got rich by collecting much more tax than the Romans demanded and then pocketed the rest. Do you want to act in a way that puts you in the same league as them?
Pagans, back then, were not just those who didn’t believe in God. Pagan practices included sex acts by the temple “virgins” and child sacrifice. How about them? Do you want to do only what people like that did, and no more?
So one final time?
What happened to love? Did love die from COVID?
Is this just what we’re going to be like from now on? I pray not. For all our sakes, including yours if treat people like this man did today.