Christians Must Show Love And Compassion; And Speak Out For Refugees In The United States
My friend, where do you stand as a Christian in relation to the American government’s Immigration Policies? President Trump wants a “… new legal immigration system that protects American wages, promotes American values, and attracts the best and brightest …” By deduction this policy is the motivation for closing the door to Third World refugees, asylum seekers and Moslems, in particular who are specifically banned.
Is your support for these policies based on a passage like this?
“Do not neglect showing hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without being aware. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are subjected to uncomfortable restriction as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrews 13:2-3)[NB: Other Bible version may state this passage differently. In any case try to find a Bible that has modern-sounding language that you understand.]
Right thinking people, especially those who are Christians cannot allow themselves to get carried away or be led astray by the blind and unreasoning few. Christians are not called to be good only when life is going a certain way or only to those who are good to them. God requires us to be and do good all the time, including to enemies. The Bible says:
“To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life.” (Romans 2:7). We also read:
“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should entrust their souls to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.“ (1 Peter 4:19)
Our Lord, Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:43-45) Based on God’s Word can any Christian say Moslems and other non-Christians do not deserve love from Christians? Here’s another biblical statement:
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” (Proverbs 3:27)
It is agreed we cannot overlook the circumstances that these measures and the ban is supposed to guard against. Terrorism, they say. The facts however are that the threat of terrorism against the US became evident since the horrible reality of the 9/11 attack. Since then however there has been only the possibility of one. Thanks to the astute and obviously dependable service of Border, Homeland, CIA and FBI officials other attempts and schemes have been thwarted. In other words, after that event those heinous people have not succeeded in harming the nation because the system has been working effectively. Nothing has happened! We should thank the Lord for His mercy, unless we believe He has nothing to do with our safety. Now however the main reason for large-scale immigration and asylum seeking is to find safety. How is it more dangerous to America to allow asylum seekers coming in now, than in the past when, without this Executive Order and the extreme security measures, no attack occurred? Moreover we Christians live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
My fellow believer, we may not fully understand why some bad people get away with doing bad; but isn’t continuing to trust God, regardless, what faith is? Therefore, do we not believe God Who promised this? Listen:
“Be strong and very courageous, fear not, nor be afraid of them [the enemy]: for the LORD thy God, he it is that goes with you will not fail you, nor forsake you…” (Deuteronomy 31:6 and repeated in verse 8)
Or are some Christians supportive of the ban and wall because they think these will protect or boost material wealth? Here too the Lord tells us how Christians should live:
“Do not make loving money the pattern of your life; be content in your present circumstances, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Greek paraphrase of Hebrews 13:5)
The President could be, as many are, under the influence of obsessive irrational fear. The majority of Christians however, are not in that psychological space. Therefore dear friend we must do what we can to rescue and help.
You as an individual, or in a group can work through trustworthy church leaders, who can influence the political leaders, including those Christians who are themselves among the lawmakers. We must heed our Lord’s declaration on exactly this issue, described in Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus clearly warns against ignoring or neglecting to help people in need, including immigrants.
The following is a commentary on that passage, which I read on the TODAY, daily devotional website (https://today.reframemedia.com/) for February 27 2017:
“In today’s parable the Lord Jesus uses a different name to describe millions of people… He calls them “the least of these.” The unborn child; the person who is mentally or physically challenged; people who are homeless, or hungry, or refugees; people in prison … It’s not up to us to judge people… Our task is simply to reach out and show Jesus’ love. Ask the Lord today to open your eyes to see his face in the faces of people who are down and out, disadvantaged, or challenged in other ways. And pray for a willingness to reach out.”
So what are we going to do about this immigration policy that looks like a flagrant disobedience of God’s Will by people entrusted with political authority, particularly because we claim to be Christian? Nothing? Worse yet is the apparent willful blindness of some religious leaders who have spoken in support of the ban and others who have influence but do not openly call out or condemn this anti-Christ act, which violates a very important teaching of the Lord. Our Christian leaders must be aware of Jesus’ statement about what constitutes loving Him:
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23)
Every teaching of Jesus must be obeyed. Influential Christians, especially those who have been silent, condoning or willfully blind need now to recall that people cannot play games with God though we do so in our heads, with each other and the public. Remember this passage?
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a person sows, this they will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
No matter the eventual consequence, the humane, compassionate and civilized job has been done in Canada. We have accepted refugees for the most part with open arms and with remarkable respect. Christians who supported this commendable action know it will count in their favor in the end because Jesus said so in the Teaching in Matthew referenced above. With sadness, we know it will not go well for the people including Christians in the US who do not take Christ’s Word seriously, as their attitude of rejection towards refugees demonstrates. It’s not too late to change. Our repentant faith in Jesus is all it takes!
Not only is the Church and some of our leaders at risk of or actually ignoring God’s Will they are also failing in their role as the Head of the Body and Heart of Christ left behind by the Lord to carry on His Ministry including loving the whole world as God did (John 3:16).
One wonders what is at stake for supporters, especially Christians who support the ban. In other words, based on the President’s motivating desire quoted above, the question is: “ What is the benefit to anyone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36). As the Lord explained to the legal expert in Luke 10:25-37 (by way of unpacking His Teaching), loving God exclusively, by itself is not sufficient to qualify a person to go to Heaven, that is, to be a Christian. Jesus added to loving God the necessary requirement to also love our neighbor as ourselves. And He illustrated using the Parable of the Good Samaritan that the “neighbor” God blesses is the person who is merciful to those who are helpless or disadvantaged even if they despise us and declare us their enemy as Jews did Samaritans. Notice Jesus did not specify when to help someone needing it. The lesson on compassion did not include any statement about whether the wounded and abandoned individual should have been there (legally) or not (illegally) in the first place. No. According to Jesus, bringing peace of mind and body in any way we can without exception, to anyone needing it, is the important obligation every Christian has. Do not miss Jesus’ final instruction on the Expert who had asked: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus told him: “Go and do likewise.”
My dear friend, Isn’t this one important way we tell the world we are followers of this Jesus? Shouldn’t it be a distinguishing characteristic of Christians to show love, be peaceful, that is, to exhibit Christ’s Love and Peace residing in us? As Paul reminds us:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
This principle is contained in the three virtues of faith, hope and love that Christians are expected to practice. According to St Paul “… the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13). So which part are you going to play in Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan: the person who looks away and crosses the road to avoid any involvement, the one who just looks at the problem and withdraws without doing anything to reduce hardship and distress or will you be the God-sent “enemy” who shows love and compassion? This is a charge we have, which we cannot avoid. Therefore as we proceed in our Walk:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope [or faith] without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to [show] love and [do] good…” (Hebrews 10:23-24)
Demonstrate the Christian love and faith we want the world to see we have. Do the Will of God. Do not forget: “Not everyone saying to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the Will of My Father in Heaven (Matthew 7:21).
Jesus explains in Matthew 25:37-40:
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
So let’s do anything and everything we possibly can to change President Trump’s policy (call a Congressman, go on social media, speak out against it) as well as do something directly to bring peace and peace of mind and body (offer sanctuary, support those who do) rather than causing suffering and storing up more enmity.
My God of love and peace, Whose compassion has no limits and Who created everything; Whose thoughts and ways are sometimes beyond my understanding, I pray that Your Spirit will take hold of me and always give me a peace-loving and compassionate heart like the Good Samaritan’s so I will make it my duty to assist people from around the world who are disenfranchised or victimized by the very people and institutions that should be protecting them. Save them, Lord; empower me to do my part to bring them to safe places, for Your Glory. Amen.
I acknowledge that everyone deserves to be happy and safe therefore I have a duty to oppose attempts to deny these basic needs to especially any individual who is legally innocent of denying me my happiness and safety; and I affirm that at all times I will uphold this principle and act accordingly.