In this season of Thanksgiving, I have much for which to be grateful. I can profess my Christianity freely without fear of reprisal here in the U.S. I have a home that I feel safe in and free from the fear of attack. I have a church where I can gather with other believers and worship my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am a wife with a loving husband for whom I give thanks every day. I am a lay pastor, hopefully being a faithful shepherd to people in our congregation for whom I would lay down my life. I have no biological family to speak of, but I am part of an amazing extended family in my church where I love and am loved. I have a few close friends whom I trust and love. Blessed? You bet I am! Grateful? Yes and yes and yes again!
With all this gratefulness, I still arrive at church this morning with a heavy heart and overwhelming sadness. Like many of you, I have watched the news with horror, listened to various pundits, politicians, and news anchors on the issues of the Syrian refugees and the latest terrorist attacks on Paris, and I have read the diverse comments on FaceBook. I wasn’t going to do this…but here is my two cents’ worth.
In Matthew 5.44-45 (ESV) we read, “You have heard that it was said, ‘But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.'” Imagine that! Praying for your enemies! It may sound ludicrous to some of you, but that is exactly what I am doing! I pray God turns the hearts of these extremist Muslims, who seem to live only to destroy, toward himself so that he might introduce them to his son Jesus Christ and they would know true freedom. That their hearts would be unhardened is my fervent prayer. Do I hate the terrorists? No, I don’t hate them – actually, I do dislike them seriously and I hate what they do in the name of their god. I love them because this is what I am commanded to do by God. It’s a bit of a conundrum for me and I pray over this daily. Have I or do I even know any Muslims? Yes, I tutored a young Arab man and he was kind and respectful of me as he tried to explain Islam to me. All Muslims are not terrorists – just as all Christians are not from the intolerant Westboro Baptist Church. That’s my position on the terrorists. Proverbs 24.19-20 states, “Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious o the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.” Our God is bigger than ISIS.
I come at this from my own Christian perspective. My husband is a retired Air Force Colonel who was stationed in Viet Nam. He has a different perspective, which I respect. And, I am certainly not saying we shouldn’t defend our country from the threat of terrorism. I know Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek; unfortunately, I’m not there quite yet. Therein lies the issue – we as a nation are so divided as to what to do and what to think about this situation that we are reduced to yelling at each other like schoolyard children. It is hard looking through someone else’s lens, isn’t it?
As to the Syrian refugees, I simply cannot fathom having my home destroyed and running for my very life because some enraged nutcase religious extremist wants to convert me to his religion or separate me from my rather cherished head. I cannot imagine leaving my homeland with a few possessions, little food and water, and walking across my country to wherever I could find a scrap of humanity to have pity on me and take me in, regardless of who I worship, or what I profess. And then, to be resettled wherever the powers that be decide, whether I want to go there, whether I know the language, having no personal say in it whatsoever. How frightening is this? Really, how frightening? I.cannot.imagine.
How many of you come from families who came to the U.S. from some other country? Uh huh, thought so. The vast majority of us are immigrants, maybe not refugees, but immigrants. What if Ellis Island said, “Sorry, the U.S. is now closed. Go somewhere else.” We wouldn’t be here, would we? This country’s foundations have been built on the backs of immigrants; some volunteer, some not, Africans, Irish, German, Scottish, British, Chinese, Hispanic, Arabic, etc. The U.S. is known for its diversity. Is there a possibility that through immigration we let in someone of bad character; someone who wants to hurt us, who is a criminal, perhaps a terrorist? Yes, it is a definite possibility. BUT, that slim possibility cannot make us shut our doors in fear and say to these refugees, “We don’t want you because we don’t trust you.”
That is the kind of nonsense being perpetrated on the American people. The media portrays only that which garners the best ratings. Christians and non-Christians are duking it out on FaceBook.
If we are not willing to accept Syrian refugees in our homes, then we might just as well take the Statue of Liberty out of the water and put her in storage.
Proverbs 22.8 tells us, “Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail.”
Tell me…where is our humanity? Pray, people, please pray.
NOTE: This is solely my opinion (to which I am entitled). Negative or threatening comments will be deleted – keep it clean and calm, people, please.