13 September 2021 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
We love our adult children and want to welcome them home during the upcoming holidays. Here’s the problem: one of our children has not gotten the vaccine, and believes he is not at risk because a colleague convinced him of the natural immunity theory.
I’m sure many young adults think they are invincible, but we are struggling on many levels with this. We are vaccinated not just for ourselves, but out of respect for others. We think he needs to be vaccinated prior to coming home, for the sake of all of us, especially a little child who can’t be vaccinated and is susceptible.
We love our adult kids and want to be together. What to do, Aunt Sevvy?
Signed, Worried Parents
Aunt Sevvy is grieved to hear these stories. The conflict about vaccines has gotten out of control, and it is splitting families and breaking relationships.
Normally, Aunt Sevvy advocates strongly for prioritizing relationships over philosophical, theological, or political differences. But the vaccine is different. It is not a matter of beliefs, but of immediate safety and health. You can overcome disagreements over many matters in order to love someone. But isn’t it foolish to put yourself into a situation that endangers your life or the lives of others?
Jesus said you should love your neighbor as yourself. Someone in the crowd asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded by telling the story of the Good Samaritan. So the answer to the question “Who is my neighbor?” is this: who cares about my well-being enough to be inconvenienced for my benefit? And the opposite is also true: Am I willing to be inconvenienced for the benefit of others?
For that reason, it is mind-boggling to Aunty why every Christian everywhere isn’t lining up eagerly to get their vaccine.
To your problem: as Christians we are not always taught the importance of setting healthy boundaries. Boundary setting is a form of self-care, and an important one. You should not be made to feel guilty or ashamed for being clear about what you will do to protect your mental and physical health.
Keep loving and encouraging and supporting your adult son. But it would be appropriate to set loving, but firm, boundaries in this area. Tell him that you want him there, that he is deeply loved, but for the safety of everyone, he must be vaccinated to be allowed at a family gathering.
You may be saving his life, as well as yours.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without identification of the writer. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.