“Again he entered the synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they watched him to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so they might accuse him. … And he said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” (Mark 3:1-2,4)

I talk to people who will not get vaccinated against the coronavirus. And they often do not like mandates that require people to get vaccinated. I can understand that. I don’t like to be required to do things either. But my focus should not be on whether something is required. Instead it should be on why it is required or mandated. I am required to stop when the traffic light is red. I may not like that, particularly if I am in a hurry. But it is good for me to stop lest I have an accident and kill someone, maybe even me. And if I don’t get vaccinated I may get sick and die. And I can also make others sick, and they could die. Thus I got vaccinated and a booster, not only to protect myself, but also to protect others. So as we make our decision about whether to get vaccinated, we should not focus on not wanting to be forced to get vaccinated. Instead we should focus on the question Jesus asked in the synagogue on the Sabbath, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill? And that question is important not only for the Sabbath, but for every day.

As I look at my life, I see that it is full of requirements that I don’t like. Because I am pre-diabetic I have eliminated all sugar from the food I make and eat. That renders my food rather tasteless, but it is better than becoming fully diabetic and maybe having to inject insulin every day. And after breakfast I take a one hour exercise walk daily, so any blood sugar will go to my muscles, rather than raising the glucose level in my blood. I don’t like that long tiring walk, but it is better than being on insulin daily. Every evening I have to do pulley exercises in the cellar to keep my upper back muscles strong enough to prevent them from going into extremely painful spasms, which I suffered from for years, until I began those nightly pulley exercises.

Getting vaccinated is a piece of cake compared to all those dietary requirements and exercises that I must do every day to keep diabetes and pain away. After suffering from the flu too much, I get the flu vaccine every year, and have not had the flu since. I had Chicken Pox as child. So I got both Shingles vaccines, because getting the shingles is no picnic. I got both Polio vaccines as soon they were available. I have had both Pneumonia vaccines. And getting those vaccines was far better than suffering from any of those diseases. So don’t be foolish. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Protect yourself and others too. That is how I respond to the question Jesus asked in the synagogue on that Sabbath, because I do not want to harm anyone or be responsible for the death of anyone, including me. I also wear an N100 mask whenever I am in public. It does not bother me if the mask is mandated, because, just like getting vaccinated, the mask is also good to protect everybody’s health.

The Rev. Walter Williams has been serving the Lord since he graduated from seminary in 1966. He currently resides in McAlisterville. To comment on his column, send a letter to Standard Journal, 21 N. Arch St., Milton, Pa. 17847 or e-mail newsroom@standard-journal.com.

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