Hello everyone! I’m so glad you’ve joined us today for episode 127, “Don’t Let Fear Drive Us Apart.”
Center Stage in Paris
A missionary friend serving in Paris wrote the following in a recent newsletter I received. It’s about the proof of vaccination that’s now being required there.
“…uncertainty continues to be the order of the day. The Passe Sanitaire, literally, “Sanitary Pass” continues to fuel strong debate and disagreement as the demonstrations across the country grow each Saturday. The scientific and medical communities are divided too, and more and more people in ‘high places' are speaking out against the pass. I haven't been to a single dinner, picnic, or tea with friends where it hasn't taken center stage. The angst is real! Pray for us…”
And then in a recent Skype call with a missionary in Germany, they told me “the vaccination issue is all you hear in the media in Germany, almost nothing else. There’s a strong appeal from the government to solidarity.
That we’re all in this together as good citizens and there’s something wrong with you if you don’t want to get the vaccine. The same thing is happening in Austria.”
Both of these missionaries see fear driving us apart
What the US government is doing
Here in the US all across the country, the government has been offering lots of incentives. Here are a few I found from this past summer:
Anyone ages 12 to 25 was eligible to win five $100,000 scholarships and 50 $10,000 scholarships.
21 different prizes including:
Airline miles and free tickets from 5 different airlines, including 50 free airline tickets from Southwest Airlines.
Hotel and resort gift packages.
Pizza for a Year courtesy of Papa John’s
$1,000 gift card courtesy of NAPA Auto Parts
Fully vaccinated residents,18 or older, had a chance to win one of the five $1 million prizes, while those between the ages of 12 and 17 were eligible to win one of five $300,000 scholarship grants.
Five weekly drawings will award four $250,000 cash prizes each week. A grand prize of $5 million was awarded at the conclusion of the sweepstakes, in early August, to one winner drawn from the statewide pool of vaccinated New Mexicans.
There was a sweepstake for a free car to any resident who was vaccinated.
The Talladega Superspeedway is offered people aged 16 and older who choose to be tested and/or vaccinated the thrill of driving their car or truck on the 2.66-mile track. Drivers and their riders will take two laps behind a pace car at highway speed, including the 33-degree-high banks.
Prison officials offered inmates five days of good time credits, a free video visit, a snack bag or a special meal, and an opportunity to be scheduled first for in-person visitations when they resume.
$100 gift card, lots of states are doing this
A free creme puff at the Wisconsin State Fair in August
A box of Girl Scout cookies. Really? That’s an incentive?
Another idea to change people’s behavior
Another suggestion to encourage people to get vaccinated appeared in a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal. It’s called the H.E.A.R. technique
H. Hear. Ask open-ended questions
E. Express gratitude. Thank you for sharing.
A. Ask about the pros and cons of getting the vaccine
R. Respond. Summarize what you’ve heard
Pretty lame. I don't think it's going to prevent fear driving us apart.
Questions we’re not asking
How do we improve our immune system?
How did people handle the Spanish flu of 1918? What did they do to get out of it?
So what does this divisive issue mean for us?
How are we to view this issue in light of our relationships. How can we get the vaccine issue off center stage as my French missionary friend describes, and throw it in the dumpster out in the alley behind the theater?
I have a few ideas.
It starts with the observation that we are all a little afraid.
The vaccinated are afraid the unvaccinated are going to infect us all, and then we in turn will infect others, including our loved ones. They may even end up putting us in the hospital. Or in the grave. They are afraid the unvaccinated will surely prolong this pandemic, and it will then take that much longer for life to return to normal.
The vaccinated are afraid our country is turning into a nation of ignorant self-centered people who only care about themselves and not the common good.
The unvaccinated, however, are afraid liberties are being taken away, where the government is taking more and more control of the daily lives of its citizens. They’re afraid the government doesn’t know what it’s doing because the “science” they point to changes on a weekly basis. Remember “Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve?” They ask.
Some of the unvaccinated are afraid because this issue reminds them too much of the medical science that endorsed lobotomies as approved medical treatment in the middle of the last century. They’re afraid something’s amiss when highly esteemed medical professionals are silenced when they raise concerns about side effects of the vaccine, like strokes, blood clots, and enlarged hearts. They’re afraid because they fear the shaming some of them are experiencing for their stance will only get worse.
I would say this to both groups: Acknowledge that we’re all a bit fearful now.
Let’s help each other in our fear. Let’s be afraid together, not emotionally apart from one another.
Here’s the main point I hope you remember from today’s episode
Don’t let fear drive us apart because of our differing views of the vaccine. Extend grace to others on the opposite side of the issue as we are. The other side isn’t stupid. Most of us are doing the best we can with the information we have.
Fear Covid, but not each other.
I’d love to hear any thoughts you have about today’s episode. Just send them to me in an email to john [at] caringforothers [dot] org. Or you can share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes.
A related episode you may want to listen to
074: Relationships During Elections
In closing, if you found this podcast helpful, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts if you haven’t already done so.
I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, so that you don't let fear drive us apart. All so that you will find the joy God intends for you through your relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.
Well, that’s all for today. I look forward to connecting with you again next week. Goodbye for now.
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