Think, Understand, Accept
In these days of COVID-19 pandemic, daily decisions which might have been really trivial or obvious pre-pandemic, are taken with much more gravity. “Do I go to the office today?” ”Buy online or supermarket?” “Send my child to preschool or stay home?” “Accompany my grandma to her medical appointment or cancel?” “Do I take a bus, a train, Grab or cab?” “Do I allow my child to play at the playground” “Do I eat at the hawker centre or dabao home?”
Knowing that making a “wrong” decision might mean exposing yourself and your loved ones to a much higher risk of acquiring the disease is adding a lot of stress to some. When is it “not doing enough” and when “too much”, “paranoid” or even seen as “lack of faith in God”?
Using the example of whether AG members should continue to meet face to face or only meet online via Zoom (be it as a whole group or in 321s), let me try to help us think it through.
On one hand, people should continue to meet because:
- there’s a need to maintain spiritual community to encourage one another
- needs other than Covid-19 will be there; people are losing loved ones, succumbing to other illnesses, losing jobs, have relationship issues at work/home, struggle with sin…. All these do not cease because of Covid-19. In fact, some are aggravated.
- emotional conditions may also worsen e.g. those with anxiety/depression. They may not necessarily reach out if there are no structured gatherings.
On the other hand, there will be others who cannot or prefer not to meet. We should refrain from the temptation to judge but seek to understand their positions. Possible reasons include:
- having elderly and vulnerable at home, hence preferring to minimize their risk
- the need to accompany elderly at home because there are no more ethnic services
- people who find it inconvenient to travel because of physical limitations (wheelchair bound)
- healthcare workers and others who may be under restrictions from their workplace. E.g. my AG has folks working in 3 different hospitals & we are not supposed to interact with staff from other hospitals even socially. Therefore, splitting into 2 groups will not work for us.
- people who are just more fearful and anxious and prefer to distance themselves for this period.
- others may not be fearful but feel very strongly that the only way to tackle this virus effectively is to have a total lockdown in order to alleviate the deteriorating macro- conditions.
For those who still want or need to meet, let’s take the necessary precautions. For those who can’t or prefer not to, let’s endeavour to continue reaching out and accepting in love.
These principles of thinking through, seeking to understand and accepting in love should be applied to all scenarios e.g. if a friend rejects your invitation to have dinner at a mall, do not judge but use these principles to think and to pray for/with your friend.
“Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.” Romans 14:3
ELDER GEORGE KHOO
On Behalf of the ZB COVID-19 TASK FORCE