My Thoughts on the Executive Order on Refugees
I don’t know much about the refugee crisis, or why President Trump has issued an executive order to close our borders to people from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon, and Libya. I’ve read the executive order, but I couldn’t parse the political or social implications of it for my children. The global political situation is beyond my comprehension. I don’t understand the causes of the war in Syria. I can’t tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys, and I’m not sure there is a difference anymore. My Twitter timeline and Facebook feed are filled with posts of varying degrees of outrage at Trump’s executive order. I don’t know whether I should be outraged, and if so how much, because, in our post-truth culture, I don’t know who to trust to explain this to me.
When the chaos and confusion of our culture swirl around me, my instinct is to lash myself to the only fixed point I know – Jesus Christ. He is my Rock, and the one on whom I can rely in distressing times. When I don’t know how to move forward, I try my best to find Jesus and just follow him. While I cannot speak to the complexities of holding political office (particularly the office of President), I believe I have something to say to my fellow Christians, particularly my evangelical brothers and sisters.
The world is a dangerous place. It has always been this way, though some of us in America have not had to experience the kind of imminent threats that people in Syria deal with today. But the reality is that death, disease, and suffering are never far away. Whether the threat is from a microscopic virus or a bloodthirsty warlord, there is much in our world to make us afraid. Fear is, more often than not, the rational choice.
Fear is not an option for those who follow Jesus.
As the people of God, we do not have a choice between fear and love. We are compelled to love and commanded to reject fear. Fear must never be our rationale for any decision, large or small. We cannot support public policy that rejects refugees because one of them may (by the tiniest of chances) be connected to a terrorist organization. It is impossible to faithfully follow Jesus by carrying your cross while at the same time deny hospitality and refuge to those in need because you are afraid that they might mean you harm. Jesus knew what the Romans were going to do to him, and he overcame the fear he expressed in the Garden by steeling himself toward the cross. Why did he do this? Because he loved the world – even the Roman soldiers who crucified him!
Perhaps there really are terrorist agents trying to sneak into this country through the refugee process. Jesus didn’t command us to be unwise or naive. But in the absence of clear information, we must not assume the worst of others. We must love without fear. We must welcome the stranger; after all, how do we know we aren’t secretly entertaining angels? We must provide for the needy, because as Jesus himself said, when we do this we are doing it for him. We must love others and entrust ourselves to God.
I admit, that’s not a very good public policy. But I’m a pastor, not a politician. My primary citizenship is in the kingdom of God, not the United States of America. I’m not calling on the state to enact a more Christian policy. I’m calling on the Church to act more Christianly. Don’t be afraid, Church. Jesus has conquered our greatest enemy, death itself. There is no one, then, that we should fear; but there is everyone that we can love.
Amen. Our love as Christians, as the Church, should indeed be “love of another kind”. And love truly is the antithesis of fear.
So well said. Thank you for giving words to my heart and thoughts!
Thank you, Pastor Andy. A couple thoughts for consideration. Yes, we are to love everyone, even/especially (?) the poor. (And unborn babies – sorry, couldn’t help throwing that in).
But Jesus, or His disciples, didn’t come even close to helping the poor as (we American Christians) would deem they should be helped. And Jesus didn’t come close to healing all the ill and such, though He certainly healed a lot, enough that would prove His deity AND HIS ONE WAY TO GOD.
And Jesus Himself rebuked His disciples with “the poor you will ALWAYS have with you.” (Emphasis mine, though I do think Jesus was emphasizing that point as He made the greater point, WORSHIP ME while there is time.)
The poor will always be with us. For various reasons, some just our state in life and, yes, some as a result of sin. (Exodus 20:5).
America simply cannot default to mindless “no fear” by allowing/encouraging (illegal/legal) aliens to overrun our borders. To do so makes us part of the problem, a big part of the problem. Frankly, there are probably 5 billion people that would enter the US if they could, right now!
True, we Christians cannot have a ‘circle the wagons’ mentality/’faith’, but we also can’t be stupid or hysterical or even a ‘nice’ political about our dealing with the immigration issue.
(I HIGHLY recommend viewing some of the videos that http://www.NumbersUSA.org produces, especially the ‘gumball’ one.)
We need earnest fasting and prayer for our country. Pastor, please lead and inspire us to this.
We need neighborhood cookouts too!
We need involvement with the immigration communities we already have among us.
We need to support, like never before, ministries like IFI!
We need to help our Legislators, and Supreme Court, with prayer and to resist the EVIL hysteria assaulting them.