Thursday, November 19, 2015

Neither Hate nor Fear

In recent days, I (and those who share at least one of my convictions) have been accused of being "haters"; others have accused me of being consumed by or motivated by fear.

Why? Because I believe that the laws of this land are exactly that -- laws. I believe that our elected officials and our judicial system (those who rule on laws and determine their constitutionality) have put into place a system of immigration laws that are fair to those attempting to enter the United States *and* that serves to help safeguard the safety of those living here.

When I stated that yesterday, someone not-so-nicely reminded me that the current immigration policies haven't always been in place. My response is three-fold:

  1. I know that! And I don't care what the laws used to be. We don't enforce laws that are no longer "on the books", nor should we. But we must enforce those laws we currently have. If we're not going to follow these laws, there's a few I don't want to follow, too. (No more federal income tax bites for me!)

  2. There's a reason the laws today aren't the same as they've always been. Laws change -- as necessary -- as society and its needs and the context change.

  3. If you do not like the current immigration laws, get off Facebook and other social media and work through the proper channels to bring about the change you would like to see.


More importantly, though, I want to respond to those accusations that I am a "hater", acting out of fear.

First, I do not hate the Syrian refugees. In fact, I feel great compassion for them and pray for them (and not just once a day out of habit). BUT, and this is important, no person, no country can fix every problem. The US already takes in 70% of immigrants taken in world-wide. We've hardly turned our backs on those in dire straights. But just as we should and must welcome with open arms those who enter legally, we must protect those who already reside here. I know I've said that last part before, but it bears repeating because some of you seem to be missing (or perhaps conveniently ignoring it for some reason?) that point.

Secondly, I don't fear a terrorist or terrorism. I know Who is in charge, and I know that I will die someday. I'd prefer to go peacefully -- preferably in my sleep after close to 100 years of vibrant living, but if that's not the plan, so be it. But I'm not going to worry about death between now and when it comes knocking at the door. Oh, I'll eat right and exercise, to maintain a good quality of life, but that's about it.

In fact, on Thanksgiving Day, I'll be attending what is, according to the experts, an event that is every terrorist's dream -- an NFL game in Dallas, Texas. If I were really afraid, I'd stay home. And I'd be keeping my beloved son and daughter home with me. Trust me!

Do I sound grumpy? Just a tad? Well, I am. I'm tired of people ignoring the facts, conveniently ignoring what is actually said, and taking it upon themselves to tell me what I think and feel. Those people overstep their bounds and common sense.

They are also hypocrites.

They accuse those of us who want immigrants vetted as the law requires of stereotyping, of lumping all Syrians immigrants together into one big lump and labelling them all "terrorists". And while I've already explained that that isn't true, the greater point for this paragraph is that they do this while at the same time lumping together all of us who advocate vetting all immigrants as the law requires into one large lump and calling us "haters" and even racist.

Definitely hypocritical!

And please, don't tell me what God wants me to do. I read the same Bible you do. Yes, we're to love our neighbors as ourselves.

But Luke 10:19 says, "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you."

According to every concordance I've consulted, "serpents" and "scorpions" refer to those who do evil.

If individuals who burn other humans alive while watching and laughing and filming the act are not evil, I don't know who is.

If individuals who put a group of people in a cage, submerge it in water while watching on underwater cameras so that, when it appears their victims are almost dead, they can pull the cage out of the water, let their captives get their breath for a few minutes and then submerge the cage again . . . and again . . . and again aren't evil, then who is?

If individuals who rape and torture and maim and kill women and young girls, who torture and maim and kill little boys, young men, and the elderly aren't evil in your eyes, I'd like to know how *you* define evil.

So stop it! Stop the second-guessing and the name-calling. Contact the immigration folks and tell them you are more than willing to sponsor a houseful of Syrian immigrants. Fix up the basement; better yet, put a couple of extra beds in each of your bedrooms. Bunking parties are so much fun!

What? You can't do that? You don't have the financial resources? You don't have room?

Well, neither does this country!

Oh, it's not that? What is it? You don't know these folks and don't want to invite into your home and the home of your kids people you don't know, whose backgrounds you don't know, and whose intentions you don't know?

Hey! What are you afraid of?

4 comments:

  1. Patti,
    You have really hit a nerve my husband and I have been wrestling with. He leans more towards "no refugees" because of what you cited, the evil Evil of ISIS who is our enemy, yet I toward the side of: "these are our brothers and sisters in Christ, or fellow suffering human beings, and we are the richest country in the world with the most sophisticated defense. How can we 'a Christian nation' not carry out the clear command of the good Samaritan. On judgement day we will be judged as sheep or goats?" {Matthew 25} The thing is The Great I Am does not fit neatly into black and white labeled boxes and so following Him will not be neat and black and white either. I love the point you closed with: open up your own home, gut bunk beds, start paying double for groceries...yes and amen!, our views are supposed to affect our personal lives and decisions, radically, not our facebook likes! When I first starting reading about the refugees and Germany opening up her doors I praised God, then asked The Lord, would we do the same? Would I share my food, home with a Syrian family. What about a Muslim one, because ISIS is targeting Suni Muslims too...not for a week for some grand gesture, but months, maybe a year? I pray that I would. I am praying fervently about what The Lord has for us, on a practical, sacrificing level. These are living hell because they chose the unsafe, unwise decsion to not forsake Christ, how can I not do the same? I believe the issue is that God does judge whole nations, lots of scriptures there, but when Christ returns it is clear it's going to be very, very personal. {again Matthew 25 which has been heavy on my heart for over three nows} and Our Lord is going to turn many away who said :"Lord, Lord" I purposely keep away from social networking and news feeds because of all the angry static which clouds judgment and reason: We serve a reasonable God who will judge us! I am really struggling because for some reason God has given me such a brokenness for these people, I can not explain. The Spirit is moving in His Church here in the U.S. and I know what is going on in the middle East is connected to us in America. One God, one Spirit, One Church right? At the end of the my life I just do not want to be ashamed of my life personally. I don't want this country to heap on more judgement that it already has. That is the real issue.
    Cheers,
    Leah

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  2. Patti, I for one cannot stand in front of our home holding a sign, "Refugees Welcome Here" - for most of the reasons you outline in this excellent post. TRUTH. It is surely a conundrum for the believer when we consider the words of red, "whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto Me." This stuff keeps me up at night. xo

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  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this very complex issue, Susan!

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  4. But are they our "brothers and sisters *in Christ*" if they are doing evil, the work of Satan? I don't think so. And I don't believe -- from careful reading of Scripture over the past months -- that Jesus ever instructs us to overlook, tolerate, enable, etc. evil. In fact, quite the opposite. Jesus even instructed the disciples to immediately leave a town and "shake the dust" from the sandals (meaning to show they don't associate with) those who do welcome or listen to them. I think that torturing and murdering Christians goes beyond that. As for God judges not just whole nations but individuals, and throughout Scripture He used His people to destroy them. Individuals and whole nations. As for your last comment, that our country not "heap on more judgment" -- aren't we called to stand against evil? Should we, then, have stood by and let Hitler take over Europe back in the 40's? Was American wrong to get involved and to help kill German soldiers and defeat the German army? I think not. The same is true today. We are fighting an group that calls themselves the Army of Allah. They see themselves as an army determined to kill all Christians; we need to treat them as such!

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