Scott Tibbs

Pandemic forgiveness is obviously needed

By Scott Tibbs, June 21, 2023

Bitterness is like eating rat poison and waiting for the other person to die. That is what we should have at the front of our minds as we talk about forgiving each other for the sins we committed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forgiveness is not for the people who sinned against us, but to protect our own mental health and to preserve our souls. We should remember the words of Jesus Christ, who commanded us to forgive in Matthew 18:21-35. When we have been forgiven so much, we should not withhold forgiveness from others.

Forgiveness is a two-way street, though. Those who supported overly restrictive pandemic mitigation policies should admit their errors and (more importantly) promise to be less aggressive in the future. For my part, I will admit that I was wrong. I was too supportive of lockdowns early in the pandemic. What we should have done is protect the most vulnerable to the greatest extent possible and allow young and healthy people to go back to work, risking a virus with a survival rate of 99.98%.

But even I was demonized and fraudulently accused of murder for saying that we cannot keep the economy shut down forever and that extended lockdowns would cause a dramatic increase in deaths of despair. (Alcoholism, suicide and addiction, plus the effects poor mental health has on physical health.) I have been proven right many times over. Lockdowns killed people.

But let's not pretend that there were only sins on one side. Lockdown skeptics also need to repent. They were far too quick to assume bad motives and even to attack the faith of fellow Christians who were more cautious. They were too quick to encourage schism and divisions within the Church by accusing fellow Christians and church leaders of "idolatry." Had skeptics assumed their brothers in Christ were acting in good faith, many of the divisions would have been avoided.

We know now that vaccine mandates are totally unjustified, because the vaccine - while it does protect against severe illness and death - does not prevent infection or transmission of the virus. I experienced this personally last July. I am fully vaccinated and boosted, and I got the virus from someone who was fully vaccinated. The entire point of a vaccine mandate is to prevent the virus from spreading, and the MRNA shots do not do that. COVID hawks need to apologize for threatening people's careers and economic security over the vaccine.

We have learned a lot over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope that we will apply these lessons when the inevitable next pandemic occurs, but sadly COVID-19 proved we probably will not. At a time when we should have unified to control a virus unleashed by a foreign adversary and covered up by the United Nations, we ran to our respective partisan corners and started throwing feces at each other. The lingering bitterness over the pandemic response almost certainly guarantees worse divisions next time - even within the Church. Brothers and sisters, it should not be this way.

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