I NEVER share my opinion on things. EVER. I’m afraid I’ll upset people. I’d rather just keep the peace.
That being said, I think I’m a smart person.
1. I have an education.
2. I have life experiences given to me by my marriage and children.
3. I believe in God. I try to live my life with the Bible as my instruction manual, and the Holy Spirit as a trustworthy guide.
This whole measles issue breaks my heart. People are dying. And a lot of other people are mad. They are mad because the disease could have been prevented, they say. If everyone just got the vaccine, then no one would be dying of measles, they say. Others, however, who have not had the vaccine (or countless other vaccines against other diseases) stand firm in their right to refuse them. Who is right?? Why can’t we all just get along, right?
I wish it were that easy.
Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this myself. I’m hoping that as I write this, I can form a conclusive opinion based on what God would say. I’m going to use the Bible as my guide and pray the Holy Spirit leads me to verses on this topic.
What MIGHT God say on the issue of the measles vaccine?
God tells us in Matthew 22:39:
Love your neighbor as yourself.
It is the second greatest commandment, only second to loving GOD with all your heart, soul, and mind. God wants us to show one another love. It saddens me to see people argue with one another, belittle one another’s opinions because they might have a different perspective, and bad mouth them when they, too, are God’s people created in His own image. (Another reason why I don’t get involved politically.)
Loving your neighbor as yourself implies you love YOURSELF. So God values each of us. It’s okay to love yourself and your body. This reminds me also of the verse where God tells us our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
1Corinthians 6:19-20 says:
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Yikes! So He wants us to love our bodies, BUT He also says our bodies are not our own. God asks us to keep our bodies pure and holy, avoiding sexual immorality among other things. What does that mean for vaccines?
There are two scenarios.
1. Should you NOT GET the vaccine because you don’t want to cause harm to your own body?
2. Should you GET the vaccine because you love your neighbor and want to protect him by having the vaccine in your body?
With the first scenario, does it make you selfish to refuse the vaccine? Some of the vaccines have a posed risk associated with them. By refusing, you would be looking out ONLY for yourself (or your child) rather than putting others first. You would actually be hurting someone else by denying them protection they could receive from you. (This is because some people who are not healthy enough cannot get the vaccine themselves. You would be their only source of protection.)
Well, what about the risk to your own body by getting the vaccine? Well, that IS a VALID concern, and a definite risk. You would have to be okay with hurting your own body for the sake of protecting your neighbor.
Here’s what I think about that. Ultimately, God has your life in His hands. After Ian’s unfortunate experience, I’ve learned that WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL OF ANYTHING. God is. God calls all things together for HIS purposes. (Romans 8:28) So, even if you refused to get the vaccine in order to protect only your own body, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow and die. Your child could choke on a chicken nugget and die. And the whole time, you refused to arm your body with a medicine that could have kept your friend from getting a deadly disease. For nothing. You tried to take matters into your own hands, BUT, God still calls all the shots.
In the second scenario, maybe to love your neighbor means to get the vaccine to protect that neighbor from disease and thus risking harm to your own body.
Phillipians 2:3-4 says:
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
God loves everyone. The story in Luke 15 of the shepherd who is willing to leave his 99 sheep to go after the 1 lost one makes me think He loves every single one of us. He values all life.
We, too, should also value all life. We should live selfless lives, taking an interest in others and intentionally seeing them as better than ourselves.
Now, I understand my conclusion on this might anger some people. Here goes.
I DO think God would want us to have the measles vaccine.
Here is a graphic that shows how vaccines have changed our world. The graphic has data from 2007, but I don’t think there would be significant difference today.
It is a disease that, fortunately, can be prevented. A lot of you might disagree. I’ve done my best to think of this strictly in a way that the Bible would advise. Because ultimately, my goal is to please God, not other people.