At the risk of proof texting, and I pray that I am not, may I respectfully remind my brothers and sisters of a few simple truths?
1. Our enemy is not the obvious one:
11 Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the devil’s strategies. 12For our struggle is not against human opponents,l but against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers in the darkness around us, and evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm.
We are not battling democrats, or republicans, or liberals, or conservatives, or Muslims, or terrorists. Our enemy is far darker and far more deceptive and would see us divided against each other.
2. Whether we agree or disagree we are all one:
1 Corinthians 12
25-26 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.
If you have a disagreement with your spouse do you post it on a billboard alongside the highway? If you want your children to act differently do you express disappointment in a 30 second television ad campaign? And yet we’re willing to call our brothers and sisters to task in social media in a broadcast approach that is just as wide spread.
3. We’re commanded to do better
34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
Yes, this may sometimes include the infamous “speaking the truth in love” but I’m not sure Jesus took the opportunity to rebuke the disciples in the midst of the sermon on the mount. If he needed to he did it in a much more intimate way and we’re commanded to love one another as he loved.
4. We’re being watched
Jesus said it would be the hallmark of those who are His that the world would recognize them by their love for ONE ANOTHER. We’re allowed to disagree and have varying political points of view and we’re allowed to challenge each other but always in a way that strives for unity.
2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
Believe me, I love a spirited debate. The ebb and flow of logic and theology and political expediency is like food to me. But the world is watching to see how we respond as a body and when we respond with shaming, and condemning, and accusing each other we, all of us, suddenly appear vastly irrelevant in the discussion.
I’m not convinced that the ONLY Christian response is to allow refugees into our country. Even the Good Samaritan, the example of “love your neighbor as yourself” didn’t bring the wounded man into his home. He paid someone else to take care of the man and said he’d check back later.
I AM convinced that we need to be compassionate in ways that effect us personally. (Neither did the Good Samaritan walk past the wounded man, go to the inn, and send someone back down the road to look into things out of fear that the robbers might return.) And to be transparent many of my Christian friends who are calling for the refugees to be allowed in are willing and ready to take people into their homes.
The issue of the refugees is a politically and economically complex one.
The point is NOT how we respond to the crisis or the need.
The point is how we respond to one another.
In the Peace of the Spirit
Striving for Unity