Last Friday, Pennsylvanians listened to their State Representative, Russ Diamond, explain his viewpoint on how PA Governor Tom Wolf is overstepping his bounds by issuing mandates that violate the PA Constitution. This verbal outcry is just one of the multitude of contradicting views people are shouting out about the COVID-19 crisis.
Business leaders under 50 years old haven’t experienced much government infringement on their personal freedom. In light of world history, the last 50 years in America have been abnormal in that people in general, including Christians, have been living without oppression from the established government or other factions.
But that all changed for Pennsylvanians on March 23, 2020, when Governor Wolf ordered a business shutdown effective at 8:00 PM that day. Forty five other states faced similar orders, though some not as shocking and immediate. Suddenly, business leaders from all walks of life were left wondering how to respond. No one alive has faced a crisis of this singularity.
The American people are facing an astonishing amount of differing mandates and viewpoints. Week after week, the volley of questions and speculations and mandate changes continue. How can Christian businessmen respond respectfully to every controversial law and opinion?
And yet, in light of world history, this is a mere speed bump. Not a fatal crash. American citizens aren’t faced with war or raging famine. Many have not been seriously ill with COVID-19. Actually, the majority of Americans don’t even personally know someone who has died from the flu strain. So really, we have a lot to be thankful for.
Unalienable Rights, Right?
The United States Constitution tells Americans—
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Certain unalienable Rights.
Americans, even American Christians, like the ring of those words combined. When those rights get stepped on, they squirm. They resist. They rationalize their way around the rights’ roadblock.
Christians can confidently claim the right to the tree of life. Besides that, maybe the “certain unalienable rights” shouldn’t mean a whole lot to them. Then maybe—and maybe only then— the onslaught of mandates and opinions wouldn’t rattle Godly business leaders quite so much.
What rights do Christians really have from God’s perspective? You decide.
Read the Bible, particularly the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter five and the Book of Revelation. There is inspiration, conviction, and confirmation here for a truly open heart and mind.
Christian business leaders are facing a broad spectrum of responses from employees and customers alike. Feelings range from opinion to conviction. From open disregard to paranoia.
Some leaders talk to their state police regularly to appease uptight customers. Others post signs on their front doors stating that “they’ll assume a customer has health conditions if not wearing a face covering”. Some are taking employees’ temperatures every morning and holding their breath while one employee stays home awaiting COVID-19 test results. Some face questioning looks from fellow Christian businessmen in the community on the cautious stand they choose to take. Others turn around to a constant push for more signage, sanitation, and salary.
Christian business leaders should try to avoid angering people by their response, or lack thereof, to social distancing mandates. This can be difficult, if not impossible. The same action may anger some and delight others.
Ideally, leaders should be learning each person’s preference and tailoring their responses to each person. For example, they could let the customer decide if they want to wear a mask or not. They could also honor others’ wishes on their own mask.
Christian business leaders should be taking time to determine critically where they’re going to stand. Where God wants them to stand. Combining that stand with tact and respect for others’ viewpoints and the government mandates, God’s name will continue to be glorified.
In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. (Proverbs 14:26) God bless you with confidence and wisdom for your leadership responsibilities.