“What would Jesus do?”
“You need to wear a mask to show kindness and love to others.”
“You are being selfish if you don’t wear a mask.”
“You might make a brother stumble if you don’t wear a mask.”
These are all things that I have heard come out of the mouths of others, even well-meaning Christians. However, I would propose to you that they aren’t really thinking out what they are saying. In fact, they are being quite hypocritical.
There are so many reasons why people refuse to wear a mask. For example, my son is hearing impaired. He literally cannot hear or understand anyone who speaks to him with a mask on. He relies heavily on reading lips. So when you wear a mask when you are communicating with him, well, there’s little to no communication occurring. You have in effect shut him out of your world. Are you being selfish for wearing a mask? I mean, you’re cutting him off to communication with you as a person. Perhaps you don’t care about that at all. Is that showing love and kindness to him?
It freaks my dad out to even think of wearing a mask. I’m sure he probably doesn’t want me to tell people that. He tries to hide it. You see, he was in Vietnam. Masks represent bad things to him…horrible, awful memories. Just the thought of being forced to put a mask on generates what I would go so far as to call PTSD symptoms. I am sure other service members can relate to this. Yet I know people who would say that someone like my dad is being selfish for not wearing one. My dad fought for this country. He served as a police officer for many years to the point of great personal sacrifice being forced to retire because he was injured in the line of duty. He is the least selfish man I know. Yet people are suggesting by their very words and guilt trips that should he chose to not wear a mask, he is a stumbling block, selfish, and lacks kindness and love for others. Really?
Or take a rape victim. According to RAINN, 1 out of every 6 women have either been raped or had raped attempted on them and 94% of women who have been raped experience PTSD. Rapists often cover the mouths of their victims to silence them. Guess what a face mask represents to them? Torture, flash backs, panic, fear, danger. Of all the people you know in your life, especially women, do you really know whether they have been sexually abused in some way? Yet people would have the gall to accuse someone who is not wearing a mask and who just might happen to be a sexual assault victim that she is being selfish and unkind. Really?
I do not question your freedom to wear a mask. You may have really good reasons to wear a mask. That’s your choice…emphasis on choice. I hope you have made a well-educated and logical choice.
That being said, when other people, especially Christians, try to lay guilt trips on other people for not wearing a mask, they are only virtue signaling. The definition of virtue signaling according to dictionary.com is as follows: “the sharing of one’s point of view on a social or political issue, often on social media, in order to garner praise or acknowledgment of one’s righteousness from others who share that point of view, or to passively rebuke those who do not.” In other words, people who virtue signal about masking want others to think about how wonderful they are for not being selfish and wearing a mask to “protect” others.
The reality is though, they are not thinking of others. Virtue signaling in this manner is really all about them. If they were really thinking of others, they might be asking themselves if that person has a good reason for not wearing a mask. But they don’t. They make assumptions and judgments without ever finding out the reason why people do what they do. They want their choice to be mandated upon others. So they just go around laying on the guilt ultimately becoming the epitome of what they are accusing others to be: selfish, unkind, unloving, and stumbling blocks to others.
“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord” (Proverbs 16:2 NIV).