This picture seemed immediately to me to be a commentary on the Coronavirus. There are plenty of people griping and complaining about the inconveniences. And plenty of people ignoring requests and recommendations by government officials. Plenty of people wearing thin foil hats and crying out “conspiracy” and doing everything they can to resist whatever is recommended as the safe and reasonable thing to do. I’ve even seen “church people” talking bad about “How some churches are closing their doors!” Or about “The government can’t close our churches, that’s unconstitutional!” And it’s always from the standpoint of “my rights” and “what I want”.
I can tell you that attitude isn’t fruit of the Holy Spirit:
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT
Shouldn’t we ask ourselves before spewing out grumbling and complaining and bitterness where that is all coming from? Is it that our words are in agreement with the Word of God that I posted above that clearly define the spirit of God and the fruit that it produces? Or could it be that — instead of trusting God — we have come into agreement with the Accuser, that enemy of God, and that our grumbling and complaining against others is actually our complaining against God?
It’s a pretty important question — where your attitude, your mood, your perspective, your “spirit” is sourced from. And we should all take the time to ask whether the fountain welling up inside us is fresh, nourishing water that brings life to those around us — or whether it is bitter and poisonous and deadly.
Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.
James 5:7-11 NLT
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 NLT
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord , my rock and my redeemer.
Psalms 19:14 NLT
Lord, help us to be mindful of what seed is being sown by our words and whether we are speaking life or speaking death. Help us to not only be willing to suffer for our own eventual gain, because even wicked and greedy investors know how to make a small sacrifice in the short term for a large personal gain later! But Lord, give us a heart that is willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of others. Give us a heart to avoid things and actions and words that might be a hindrance to others. Help us to avoid sinfulness and temptation, not because our own wickedness or righteousness in itself has any bearing on our own salvation/damnation or reward/punishment — but because our example might either lift up or tear down our brothers and sisters. You did not die on the cross for your own gain, because you are God and have need of nothing. You suffered and died for our benefit. Help us to follow in this way, Lord. Amen.