Mercy and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Are We Compassionate?

Perhaps millions of people throughout the world have implored God’s mercy since the beginning of this pandemic, and rightfully so. However, we should remember that Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7). How kind-hearted and benevolent are we in our dealings with others?

A Cause of God’s Judgment

The Old Testament indicates in different passages that one of the reasons that God brought judgment on nations was because of their lack of compassion toward widows, orphans, and the poor. They even went so far as to make laws to enforce their oppression of others (Isaiah 10:1-2). God expects us to defend those who are unable to defend themselves.

Ways In Which We Fail to Show Mercy

Many today prefer to send their ailing parents to nursing homes, even though they have the time and the ability to do this good work themselves. Paul wrote to Timothy that “it is right to take care of … [our] fathers and mothers: for this is pleasing in the eyes of God” (1 Timothy 5:4, Bible in Basic English). The Contemporary English Version indicates that children should take care of the widow “as she once took care of them.” If only we were as merciful to our parents as they were to us when we were little!

Just a few days ago, we witnessed a hideous sight in the world… and a few of us may even have participated in it. Some people, worried about COVID-19, hoarded so much at the supermarkets that they left little or next to nothing for others. How have the poor and other weak members of society fared in this atrocious spectacle of humanity?

I recently was able to do some evangelistic work among Venezuelan immigrants in Colombia. They were some of the poorest souls that I have ever seen, living in flimsy wood shacks with dirt floors. They had no running water or electricity; food was scarce even in the best of times. I hate to think of what this pandemic may do to them. Most of us are RICH in comparison. Are we showing impoverished souls compassion as opportunities present themselves or are we hoarding for our own needs?

As if this were not enough, approximately 150,000 children are aborted EVERY DAY in the world (https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-worldwide), primarily for the sake of convenience. This is the epitome of selfishness and is contrary to the compassion that we all should feel toward the most defenseless human beings on earth.

Perhaps Paul was thinking about this depraved mindset when he said that some are “heartless” (Romans 1:31). The King James Version translates this as “without natural affection.” Some have no motherly or fatherly inclinations toward the tiny being developing in the womb. To them, it is nothing more than “tissue” –or worse– an “intestinal parasite,” as someone posted online a few years ago.

Did God Bring This Pandemic on the World?

Many religious people are referring to the Coronavirus Pandemic as a “judgment from God.” However, where did they get such knowledge?

Jesus and the New Testament writers did not envision the Christian Age to be one of continuous, direct revelation, but rather “all the truth” would be revealed through the apostles and inspired writers of the first century (John 16:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3; Jude 3).

God has not told this writer directly or anyone else on earth that He is “using the coronavirus to punish us for our disobedience.” Do not believe modern-day “prophets” who affirm that God has told them specific things that have not been revealed in His written word! However, we can confidently say that God is “permitting” this crisis, though He is not necessarily the cause of it.

Some Will Learn From This

God knows that some will take advantage of this trial that has come upon all humanity and will come out of it better than before. They will be refined, like gold is purified with fire.

What about us? Will we strive to know God and His word better as a result of this pandemic (Jeremiah 9:23-24; John 14:23; 1 John 5:3)? Will we learn to be more merciful or will such inclinations be short-lived? Time will tell.

–Jerry Falk