Guilt: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for an offense whether real or imagined. Shame: a feeling from one’s consciousness of something dishonorable or improper done by oneself or another. Fear Mongering: the action of deliberately arousing fear, or taking advantage of ones fear, in an effort to manipulate. For the past few days I’ve watched silently while people tear each other apart online. It is actually appalling. What’s happening? Guilting people for not walking the party line. Shaming people for having strong emotions regarding COVID-19. Fear mongering through manipulation and humiliation. Who’s doing this? People who claim to be Christians. Some ministers and church leaders are the most vocal and harsh. Why use guilt, shame, and fear mongering? Simple. Because those are the devil’s favorite tools. Read Genesis 3. Read Matthew 4. How are these tools used? By posting, sharing, and liking comments about individuals who worship at home on Sunday and publicly condemning churches that choose to close their buildings or alter their worship times. Guilt is a useless emotion. It is a complete waste of time. Decisions made for safety, out of good conscience, or because of health reasons should be a personal choice. Trying to force someone to feel guilty is demeaning, demented, and destructive. Shame is a reckless effort. We shouldn’t bind our own opinions (Romans 14). If you attempt to shame someone for taking care of their health, or protect a congregation of elderly members, check your heart. Fear mongering is an evil practice. First, if you serve God, take off the enemy’s uniform and release his tools. Stop spreading fear. Strengthen the faith of others. Second, read your Bible, especially Leviticus. Self-quarantine and congregational quarantine are commanded by God in times of sickness, death, and natural disasters. Let’s use this time to share messages of hope. Spread love and kindness. Stop lecturing and judging. Let’s start showing mercy (Matthew 5:7).
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds