Ireland Tate recently said on social media that she’s “aware that we’re supposed to be self-quarantining and social distancing” to “keep everyone safe,” but that she wasn’t worried. “Cool. I get it. I just don’t think I’m going to get the virus,” she said in her video.
A few days later, the twenty-one-year-old Tennessee woman was suffering from symptoms associated with the virus and tested positive. Now she’s warning other young people to stay home: “While it may not be affecting you, you could be affecting someone’s grandma or grandpa or aunt or uncle or sister.”
Brady Sluder made similar headlines a few days ago for his defiance of social distancing guidelines. While on spring break in Miami, he told reporters, “If I get corona, I get corona.”
He has now apologized, stating: “I’d like to take this time to own up to the mistakes I’ve made and apologize to the people I’ve offended.” He said that he, like many people, has “elderly people who I adore more than anything in the world and other family members who are at risk.”
He stated that he wants to “use this as motivation to become a better person, a better son, a better friend, and a better citizen.”
Their stories remind us that coronavirus is a danger to anyone and that those who are infected are a danger to the rest of us. We are all fallen people living in a fallen world.
But their stories also show us that when we fall into sin and failure, repentance is always the right response.
The hope and power of repentance
It’s hard to list many heroes of the Bible who did not travel on the road of repentance and restoration. We could start with Peter, who denied his Lord three times but later became the preacher of Pentecost. Or Paul, the persecutor of Christians who later wrote half of the New Testament.
St. Augustine, often considered the greatest theologian after Paul, made famous his repentance through his spiritual autobiography, Confessions. Martin Luther was transparent about his struggles with temptation.
Scripture is clear: “God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30 NASB). He is “declaring” (the word means to instruct and command) that “all people everywhere” should repent, with no exceptions or exclusions.
Commenting on our text, Billy Graham said of repentance: “The Bible commands it, our wickedness demands it, justice requires it, Christ preached it, and God expects it.”
Let’s be clear: repentance is not a condition to being loved by God. Scripture teaches that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Rather, repentance is necessary to receive what God’s grace wants to give.
As he did with Peter, Jesus passionately wants to restore his sinful followers to himself (cf. John 21:15–19). But if he did not require us to admit our sins, turn from them, and seek his forgiveness, he would endorse that which destroys us. He would be a father who lets his intoxicated teenager drive the family car or a doctor who treats the symptoms of his patient’s cancer rather than removing the malignancy.
You may not have minimized the dangers of coronavirus, but you’re part of the human race. And everyone in our race has sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
So, take a few minutes and ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind anything in your life that displeases God.
Write down what comes to your thoughts.
Then confess these sins, individually and with a repentant heart.
Now destroy the paper and claim the grace of God.
The best time to remove a malignancy is the moment it is discovered.
Do you agree?