“Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
Those are the words of Jesus.
“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.”
Those are the words of Isaiah.
Refugees. It’s hard to imagine that this is a polarizing topic among Christians. But it is. Some of my Facebook friends — who practice Christianity — claim that this ban on refugees is right and within the bounds of Christian theology and life practice. Elders, leaders, silent pulpits.
The issue for the American Christian (is that even a category, sadly it is?) is that we don’t trust God. We won’t speak out on behalf of those who are escaping the very terror that we are trying end. The refugees are the people from Mosul and Aleppo and countless other places where the war on terror is being intensely fought. We are willing to fight over there, but we are not willing to accept a minuscule risk to our safety here to welcome them? The people who are well vetted, and who have suffered so much to get the chance to come here, we abandon them at the last minute because…? Jesus tells us so? Huh
“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.”
We have the opportunity to rescue, help, and bless some of the world’s most oppressed — women, children, families. To be the light of the world. To show these oppressed the Love of God. That’s right, to open our hearts and to pour out on these people the love of God which we believe is greater than anything else. Any nationality. Any creed. Any nationalistic, narrowly focused, expression of what’s mine is mine.
All this past week I have read and seen the stories of those who have been turned away at our borders. I have carried the grief and embarrassment of what our country has done and the vocal silence of Christians, especially conservative evangelicals. If you, as a Christian persist in telling the most vulnerable to go away, then what are we to make of Jesus’ words? Of Isaiah’s prophesy?
I was talking with a colleague this week about the craziness in the world. Our conversation drifted to the refugee situation. I told her I am a Christian. We had been very serious in our conversation. And she simply stopped talking and looked at me. Silent. Waiting.
I told her I do not support the US ban on refugees. It is wrong. It does not show the love of God. It does not risk helping the poor and destitute regardless of my circumstances. And I said, if other Christians disagree, well then, on this issue I will say this: You are a hypocrite.