“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” – Matthew 25:35-36 (emphasis added)
The last report I saw stated that 18 states were planning on denying refugees from across the sea a place to lay their heads. The majority of my friends on Facebook who are Christians have either posted something that they themselves wrote in support of this or “liked” someone else’s post about denying refugees a place to go.
Refugees. Dictionary.com defines a refugee as: “a person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country as in times of political upheaval, war, etc.” The origin of the word is French. Is that ironic?
Thesaurus.com lists these as synonyms for the word refugee. “alien”, “foreigner”, “prodigal” (that’s an interesting one), “exile”, “leper” (another interesting one – wonder what Jesus thought about lepers…), “runaway”, etc.
I’ve seen some of these words somewhere before. Alien. Foreigner. Sojourner, perhaps? Perhaps you see where this is headed…
“When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt…” – Leviticus 19:33-34 (emphasis added)
Seems like God has some pretty strong feelings about aliens and foreigners and sojourners.
But back to those Facebook posts from all those Christian folk. Don’t get me wrong. I identify as Christian. I believe that the bible is the Word of God and it is true. And that’s where this problem I’m having comes in to play. Either the bible is true or it’s not. If it’s not then I might as well stop writing this thing. If it’s true then all of it is true. These posts and “likes” and cries to close our borders are a loud noise of this world. They are not the words of a child of God.
Deuteronomy 27:19 says, “Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.” Did you catch that? Cursed. That’s heavy. Raise your hand if you want to be cursed in the sight of God. Anyone?
Now I know there are lots of other problems. We’re not taking care of our veterans like we should. We’re not taking care of our own poor and downtrodden like we should. There is plenty of violence to go around in our own back yard, much less halfway across the world. The list goes on and on. And they are all important issues. They are just not the point of this essay. I state them so that you know I am not blind to the big picture.
This refugee issue is not a new one. My remembrance of grade school history is hazy at best, but I believe this great country if ours might have had a thing or two to do with refugees way back in the beginning. Just because time has passed does not mean that the problems the world faces have changed. It does not mean that we should not do as our fathers before us did and fight for what is right in God’s eyes. The problem, you see, is one of the heart. Every problem comes from that one source. How can we be Children of God if we close our hearts? Make them hard and stone-like. I know of one group of people who were like that. They were called Pharisees. Remember how things turned out for them?
I know that most of my friends who are supporting closed borders mean well. But I have to stop and wonder if they are putting God in a box. Is this issue something that is too much for God? Did we somehow go so far this time that God doesn’t know what to do? Is it up to us to fix this because God can’t figure it out? Last time I checked I didn’t know of anyone else who could part the sea to deliver His people to safety.
Now I’m not saying that we should stick out heads in the sand and pretend that nothing is going on. The world is broken, folks. Adam and Eve saw to that. Well, that sneaky old snake had a hand in it as well, but Adam and Eve are the ones who did the deed, so to speak. And then what happened?
“You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth.” – Genesis 4:12 (emphasis added)
I’m not sure how you read that, but to me it sounds like we’ve all been wandering for a very long time. If we follow that path full circle it leads us to a difficult fact. The refugees are us. We are they and they are us. This street we live on. This city we live in. This state we call home. This country we fight for. None of it is ours. We are living on borrowed land and time.
Oh, and speaking of time.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” – Mark 13:32
Don’t plan to do the right thing. Don’t expect that you’ll do it tomorrow, or maybe the next day. Don’t wait just one more day to speak out. Do it now. What if the appointed time is now?
Remember what Jesus was saying up there at the top when you started reading this? That whole thing about feeding, clothing and helping him? He goes on to say a little bit more.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” – Matthew 25:41-45 (emphasis added)
I don’t want to be one of those standing on His left.
By, Seth Spencer ~ Guest Writer