Government Coronavirus Directives and Individual Liberty

I affirm that the decision maker for health decisions is the individual. We have freedom to make our own health decisions. 

However, there are limits to that freedom. For instance, if sin is involved, as with abortion.* Furthermore, we need to think clearly about how the Bible usually talks about the exercise of our freedom and our rights. When Paul says, in 1 Cor. 10:31,

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,”

he’s saying that in the context of how we use our freedom. The larger section is all about rights. And his big point is that we are to use our freedom with self-restraint (for instance, 1 Cor. 9:27), for the benefit of others, especially the weaker person. 

This we do even if we know our caution is actually, in effect, needless. That’s what Paul is saying in v. 23-30 of chapter 10. That meat offered to idols? It’s nothing. It’s just meat. Eat it if you want. Transfer this to today: “All these precautions will probably be needless and too restrictive”. But Paul would say, yep, and still self-limit your freedom, for the sake of – see 1 Cor. 10:32: “Give no offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that many may be saved.” 

So we have individual freedom to make our own health decisions. But the way we are to exercise that personal freedom is for the good of the many – that is, love – whether that be for church or city. The question is, again, not the verb, but its object. It’s not whether I act in freedom – in Christ, I am free. The question is for whom. And I don’t think we Americans (myself included) are used to exercising our freedom this way. 

And then the government comes along, and imposes an outside limit to that freedom. And I think we bristle at that. But again, God wears government as His mask, and puts it in place for good. Even _________ (name your least favorite politician). 

It’s good to stop and process why we bristle. Because the CDC’s and the governor’s coronavirus guidelines actually align with our biblical mandate in how we are commanded to exercise our personal freedom. We self-limit, for the advantage of the many. I fear that dismissing the CDC’s guidelines could give unnecessary offense. Not because I fear man, but I fear giving offense to the gospel. 

*Or, say, if the government told churches that they could not meet every flu season, or that we could not preach that Jesus is King. Both would be unjust directives that should be courageously ignored. But we are not, under current directives, being coerced into violating Scripture (for instance, Heb. 10:25).