The day before, I had walked out of the café without paying for my scone and coffee. Today I was back for another coffee and to make amends for my misdeed.
As the waitress heard my apology and was assessing my bill, she asked me how my day was. I told her that I had just received my second Pfizer jab this morning and was feeling fine. I had even been for a walk along the beach.
The waitress replied that I was fortunate. When she had received her first Pfizer jab, she had an adverse reaction which affected her heart and she was now on medication. The same thing had happened to her father but her mother had no adverse reaction to the vaccine.
She was worried about having the second jab and was undecided at the moment. She needed to balance concerns about her personal health with protecting her 10 year-old son from the virus.
After listening to her with empathy I responded, “You should not feel under any pressure to take the second jab.”
My words gave her some comfort.
The 90:10 rule
In New Zealand, there has been significant government pressure to take a double dose of the Pfizer vaccine and an inoculation target has been set at 90 percent.
Because of the government vaccination mandate, teachers, nurses, mid-wives and those on the frontline facing Covid at the border are being stood down if they refuse to take the vaccine.
Currently there is talk about introducing vaccine certificates after we reach the 90 percent threshold and operating a traffic light system that gives much more freedom to those who have been vaccinated compared to those who are not.
This means that unvaccinated people will not be able to go to public events, the hairdresser and restaurants if Covid is still in the community after 90 percent of the population are vaccinated.
The 90 percent vaccination target and proposed vaccine certificate plans are causing much division and angst in society.
It will also have an effect on church services with those who are unvaccinated being excluded from large church gatherings, and there would be a need for the church to police those who are vaccinated and those who are not.
I have friends who are fully vaccinated and a number of friends who do not wish to take the vaccine including a medical professional. Those against vaccination have weighed up the evidence and decided not to take the vaccine for various reasons, whatever the personal cost to them.
In some quarters, people who do not wish to take the vaccine are being painted as selfish, ignorant and conspiracy theorists.
I was at a public meeting last week when the issue of Covid in the community was raised and a person yelled out, “Those people who are not fully vaccinated should be refused medical treatment.” There were some nods in the room, such is the fear mongering around Covid.
There are many people who are taking the vaccine because they feel they have little choice.
I cannot remember a time when there has even been such a divisive issue since the Springbok rugby tour of 1981.
And I cannot remember a time in my lifetime when there has been a such a loud call for the persecution of a people group.
Whatever the perceived health reasons, the calls to persecute the unvaccinated are a grave injustice and representative of a society that feeds on punishment.
This is not the Christian way.
As Christians we don’t follow the ways of the world. We demonstrate compassion, love and grace and make amends in this lost world. If someone is crushed we build them up.
I am not going to sit back and watch my non-vaccinated friends being persecuted. If they would like a coffee I will buy them a coffee. If they need a hairdresser I will find them a hairdresser.
Jesus did not bully people. Jesus healed the lepers (Luke chapter 17, verses 11-14) and had dinner with the tax collectors (Matthew chapter 9, verse 10). Jesus stood in the gap for our sins.
And never in recent times, has there been a greater call to faith. Faith in our traditional beliefs as followers of Jesus that there is only one way to walk in the light. Faith in the power of the cross, the resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit.
I am going to try and walk in the way Jesus would, in love and grace, and make amends for those who do not wish to take the vaccine in this age of persecution and punishment. A voice of peace in these troubling times.
And may God shine His light on this situation, reveal the truth and set people free so his Word will bloom like the beautiful words in Psalm chapter 85.
Psalm chapter 85, verses 10-12
Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
Wayne Graham worked in the media for more than 30 years before leaving to follow a call to set up The Daily Encourager, a values based media showcasing the best of New Zealand society. He has a passion for Jesus, enjoys walking, ball sports, the arts and song writing.