I’m not a political writer. I hate politics. I hate debates. I can’t think on my feet and I mostly just want to ignore the kind of political fights I see on Facebook.
But more than that, I hate so much of what I see in our world today. I hate that ISIS is killing and terrorizing people. I hate that tens of thousands of people have been fleeing their homes as a result. I hate that we, as Christians, have succumbed to fear to the point that we actually think twice about helping in a worldwide crisis such as this.
I don’t pretend to be an expert in political science. I know government officials need to do a better job protecting our country. In fact, I think that our leaders ought to, on the one hand, retaliate against and even preclude terrorism, and with the other hand, offer refuge to those running from it.
I hate politics, but I love Jesus. And so when I’m faced with the kind of situations we see in our world right now, I try to focus on Him and ask what next step He wants me to take. I’m not a government official and I don’t envy the job of deciding how to help the global situation and how to vet the refugees. But I can ask how God wants me to respond in my every day life. The answer I’ve been getting?
It doesn’t involve safety and living the American dream. I’m not sure it even involves remodeling the kitchen next year, as we planned. It may involve giving all my money to the poor, but only if I do it out of love (1Corinthians 13).
The answer I've been hearing is something like this, from Matthew 25:
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
I’ve been reading about missionaries who put aside the comforts of this world to bring good news to the lost. There wasn’t much safety and ease in the lives of the Livingstones and the Judsons.
I’ve been thinking about how hard this all is. It’s easy to say what we should do. It’s not so easy to put it into practice. It’s hard and it’s scary and I, for one, would rather be raising my kids during the Cold War than during this crazy global crisis. I realize that’s probably because I can see from here that most
Americans survived the 80’s just fine and I can’t see the future for our children now.
I’ve been, sometimes, feeling very fearful. I try to combat that with praise. I’m so thankful for Pandora and K-LOVE in those moments. I also remember that perfect love casts out fear, which pushes me to read this in 1 John 4:
6 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
It’s easy, in a sense, to love the refugees, who are not here (yet). It’s harder, at the moment, to love our fellow believers. And so I’m letting this particular crisis drive me to live out the whole gospel better here, in the US, today, with my fellow believers, with the least of these that He puts right in front of me.
What a hypocrite I would be if I said, “We should love the Syrian refugees and let them into our country!”
And then I turned around and said, “No, I can’t bring a meal to that family in need. I can’t listen to their pain. I can only help the people I like spending time with. I can’t go serve at the Soup Kitchen. I’m too busy. It’s too hard.”
I want my kids to see me loving people. I want to love with abandon. I want to follow Him. Even when it’s hard. I’d rather it were easy and safe. But that’s not what we were called to. So I pray for the strength to do whatever He puts in front of me, whether it’s hugging my own child or providing a home for a stranger.
Let me see His face in the least of these, my brothers and sisters.