Some view it as a commonsense way to help slow the spread of Covid.
Some wear a mask as a sign of respect and kindness towards others.
Some wear a mask in obedience to their government.
Some view mask wearing as capitulation to illegitimate governmental attack on their freedoms.
Some view mask wearing as the beginning of an establishment of a ruling world order leading to the apocalypse.
No matter where you land on the spectrum of opinion, I’d like to make a simple suggestion that is useful for all of us – many of us especially so right now.
No matter if we agree with mask wearing or not, let’s choose to view this cloth over our mouths as a reminder that we need to be careful of the words that are spoken behind that covering. “Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.’” (Matthew 15:10-11)
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, it says in Proverbs. All of us have felt the sting of words carelessly spoken, or used as weapons to make us feel foolish, shameful and small. All of us have felt the comfort of encouraging words designed to heal, uplift and praise.
We may be able to hide a judgmental attitude or contentious spirit…until we open our mouths. “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James says.
Let these scraps of material remind us to silence our toxic anger and suspicions, our critical thoughts and unkind assumptions, and instead speak words that give life to those around us; words that defuse gossip and complaint; words that strengthen the weary and disheartened.
Let our masks be a reminder to be “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19)
Perhaps then our masks will do more than protect others from disease; they will also protect them from our rashly-spoken words, and at the same time protect us from the regret that haunts us afterwards.
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalms 141:3)
Now, if only someone would invent a mask for our keyboards.