This morning I received an email from a friend in the Middle East that stirred my heart. One line in particular has my mind reeling, as I ponder his words and post them for your consideration.
I’m praying that you and the young followers of Jesus in the USA will be a prophetic voice in the midst of the media storm that is erupting around what I would consider ‘hate speech’ by certain ‘politicians’. These are difficult times.”
I’m not going to make any bold statements only raise some blunt questions. My thoughts might invigorate you or infuriate you (I’m fine with either BTW), but it’s time for the Church to lead the conversation with some biblically-balanced-common-sense. Listen closely, and contemplate my challenge. Don’t react emotionally—reflect prayerfully.
Indulge me as I compare the issue of gun control in the United States to the recent suggestions of some presidential candidates of ‘Muslim control’. Both evoke extreme emotion. Both include polar opposite points of view. Both create increasing division. Both are equally dangerous.
And both border on utter irresponsibility.
Some candidates and politicians seeking office or reelection seldom present solutions that are not workable. Instead, they offer sound bites that do little more than get potential voters worked up. They ruffle feathers with fearmongering in to order to rally political fervor. And sadly, their methods consistently prove effective. While those on the fridges of each issue speak the loudest, the voices of the majority go unheard. And get run over (maybe because they remain silent).
Do we really need to draw lines in the sand? Or do we need to pull our head out the sand and see these problems from a Christ-centered context? I suggest the latter because neither guns nor Muslims are the problem, and neither should be vilified as such. The Church must fight against being forced into fanaticism on these issues based upon fright.
As my friend stated, “These are difficult times.” And while someone may eventually end up building a wall around the USA, the American Church cannot follow suit and isolate herself from the hurting, marginalized, and maligned. We cannot get caught in the charade of politics and justify extreme positions without ignoring the fact the Jesus Christ and his disciples were refugees forced to wander from place-to-place. This also depicts many former Muslims today forced out of their homes to carry the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world.
Does the global immigration crisis pose a potential threat to the population? Do nations need a process of protection from those entering their borders from those who would bring harm? Do citizens need the freedom to defend themselves in times of increasing attacks? I say of course; however, I also know that Jesus warned his followers of the risks we would eventually face. Perhaps a review of John 15 would be appropriate.
The final instructions of Jesus to his young protégés was to “Go into all the world…” Have we failed to go because we are comfortable? And will our comfort now result in closing our borders? The ‘world’ is crossing continents to find refuge in from violent extremists. So how will the Church respond? With fear? Or with faith?
Let’s be biblical. Let’s be balanced. And let’s distinguish between debates and distractions from our real spiritual enemy who desires to pull the Church into losing battle.
Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.” —Matthew 10:16
Thanks for sharing your considerate and cautious replies to this critical topic.
Please don’t be flippant; this is too important!