Have we become a society of judgment and rejection? Do we enjoy seeing others on the chopping block of elimination or exclusion? Do we thrill at the prospect of someone being delivered the harsh reality of an extinguished torch?
Are we now translating that recreational tour de force into real world execution through wholesale rejection of anyone who wants to cross our borders because “they” might be terrorists?
“Do not say, ‘Conspiracy,’ every time these people say the word. Don’t be afraid of what scares them; don’t be terrified. You must recognize the authority of the Lord who commands armies. He is the one you must respect; He is the one you must fear.” Isaiah 8:12-13
When will we learn from our own history?
During WWII, we rejected Jewish emigrants escaping the Nazi holocaust while placing our own citizens of Japanese descent in “internment” camps, incarcerating them for up to four years and destroying their lives in the process.
World War II prompted the largest displacement of human beings the world has ever seen—although today’s refugee crisis is starting to approach its unprecedented scale. But even with millions of European Jews displaced from their homes, the United States had a poor track record offering asylum. Most notoriously, in June 1939, the German ocean liner St. Louis and its 937 passengers, almost all Jewish, were turned away from the port of Miami, forcing the ship to return to Europe; more than a quarter died in the Holocaust…Government officials argued that refugees posed a serious threat to national security. Yet today, historians believe the concern about refugee spies was blown far out of proportion. Daniel A. Gross, Smithsonian.com, November 18, 2015 (emphasis mine)
As Christians, we can use all the excuses and rationalizations we want: There simply is no justification for refusing emigrants fleeing for their lives. None. Yet we continue to repeat our mistakes and shake our fist at God, insisting we know better.
Leviticus 19:33-34 “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
Leviticus 24:22 “The same rule applies to every one of you. It makes no difference whether you are a foreigner or a native. I am the Lord your God.”
Malachi 3:5 “I will come to you in judgment. I will be quick to testify against those who … exploit workers, widows, and orphans, who refuse to help the immigrant and in this way show they do not respect me,” says the Lord who rules over all.”
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
John 3:16-17 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
If Jesus did not come to condemn us, why is it we take liberties to condemn one another? Why do we suppose we are greater than Him, and usurp God’s power and authority to judge, exclude and condemn?
When we automatically label an entire group of people potential terrorists, we place a wall in front of them. Just as females are not given an opportunity for an education in a country run by a Taliban regime, immigrants who Westerners reject out of hand as “possible terrorists” are not given an opportunity for survival, education or an inroad to the heart of our God.
We must rethink our approach to this before our own history repeats itself. We must take a stand. We must either follow Caesar, follow the Pharisees, or follow Jesus.
Who will you follow?