Recently, I read a post that gave an interesting perspective on the stay-home orders or lockdowns throughout the world during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. The author said that although “we were all going through the same storm, we weren’t all in the same boat.”

The point was that remaining home, for example, might have been seen as an opportunity for some, who got a break or the chance to explore new work schedules or to spend time with loved ones. For others it meant a loss of income, overly crowded conditions (or conversely, intense loneliness), and in some cases, even physical or mental danger.

I thought about this a lot as I read intense posts and articles either directed toward people who disobeyed quarantine orders, or toward the government for trying to impose them, or even just posts that take for granted that everyone has the same viewpoints—and if not, that the people who held different opinions were stupid, misled, or worse.

Some of this is addressed in the Bible, since human nature has always been quite self-centered, and Jesus constantly reminded His disciples and others around Him to have empathy and compassion and to try to look at things from others’ perspectives.

I’ve gathered a few verses on this topic, which I’ve found to be a help in reminding me to be empathetic and compassionate with those I come into contact with, even if their beliefs are different from mine.

Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.—Luke 6:36–37

If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for this? Even tax collectors love their friends. If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about this? Don’t even unbelievers do that?—Matthew 5:46–47 CEV

Make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 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.—Philippians 2:2–4 NLT

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!—Romans 12:15–16 NLT

God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient.—Colossians 3:12 CEV

Encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.—1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT