The long road out of lockdown

So, we begin the very long journey out of lockdown with a few tentative steps.

As Christians, how do we respond to this?


I have seen many social media posts expressing a degree of impatience. To be honest I have said much the same thing in private messaging groups. Like everyone else in the country, we can become very frustrated with the restrictions and it makes us anxious and restless. Even if some of us were not socialites before this started, by now most of us are longing for the freedom to see whomever we want, wherever we want, for as long as we want. And we do really want to visit friends and family. What makes it all worse is that we cannot always see the logic of some of the restrictions – there are apparent inconsistencies.

But we have to be patient; it is what God calls us to be. It is interesting that patience (or forbearance) is right up there in the list of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5). As the Spirit of Christ works in us, we are helped to rein in our annoyance at being kept waiting.


Some of us are not so much impatient with the lockdown, but anxious. We maybe not sure about the risks and the dangers of venturing back into social contact. It seems that actually many people have lost the ability to evaluate and live with the presence of risk in their lives; they seem to think that it is the government’s role to guarantee them a risk-free existence.

Christians need to show that we are not reckless but that we can deal with the realities of life and death. This is more than just common sense, more than just weighing up the risks. As followers of Christ we do not need to be in fear of the unseen enemy of a virus that may strike at any time; rather we trust that God is in charge and that he is good. We step out from lockdown in confidence, trusting the Lord to preserve us in this life until the day he takes us home to be with him.


Also, as we move out into society again, we do need to be responsible citizens. We should act sensibly, especially with respect to the wellbeing of other people. We show we are serving Christ as we love our neighbours and respect the authorities by observing the rules. We do not always agree with the rules or totally trust the science behind them – I certainly don’t. But we are not to stand in  judgment over the decisions of our leaders. We are responsible to obey the law, and to apply the principles they outline in wise ways.

But as we do this, we must not be judgmental. Even more so than before, we need a degree of common sense, especially as others may interpret the guidance we have received in slightly different ways to ourselves. What if I see a fellow Christian talking to more than one person in the park at the same time? What if there are guests in my neighbour’s garden who do not live there? Maybe there is a satisfactory explanation for these things, and maybe not. But we need to be charitable. Maybe for close family and friends this might be a time for some gentle questioning, but for most people we should operate on the principle that we are tough on our own behaviour and generous about others.


Above all, we need to remain prayerful. We are still longing for God to teach us through this situation, to draw many others into the kingdom as they realise the frailty of life and the absence of hope, but that he would show mercy to the many who are suffering and grieving because of this virus.

Graham Nicholls is Director of Affinity


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