"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"
These are truths upon which this nation was founded. That all men are created equal. That they are all endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; and that these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
It breaks my heart how we have reacted to the shooting in Paris. To the bombing in Lebanon. And to other acts of terror around the globe. In the face of such evil, evil that has left families: men, woman, and children, trapped, we have reacted from fear. We have called upon our leaders to close our boarders. It breaks my heart that I live in a state that has said they will no longer accept refugees.
I want to preface this post with a few things.
First, I'm not trying to undermine the complexities of this crisis or immigration policy. I, by no means, have the answers to all of this. This is simply my response to the overwhelming movement to completely shut our borders to refugees.
Second, I'm not one to normally add my voice to current event discussions. It seems there is an excess of noise with the explosion of social media over the last decade. And I've never wanted to simply add to the already cluttered sound-scape. But I simply could not sit by and watch as so many let fear rule our choices.
"I am not surprised by the amount of evil in the world, I'm simply surprised that there isn't more. Apart of Christ I can do no more than hate, than fear, than curse."
In the last week we have seen unequivocal evil. We have seen the reality of hate. We have seen the reality of darkness. And in the name of self preservation, we have turned our heads from this evil. We've changed our profile pictures to stand with those who were attacked, but we have forgotten about the families who must live under the rule of ISIS. I believe we should stand in solidarity and in mourning with the people of Paris. There is no doubt in my mind that it breaks Jesus' heart. It breaks mine as well. But we shouldn't stop there. We cannot forsake those whom are caught in the midst of the heart of it all. We have forsaken the call Jesus.
"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."
We must choose love. In the midsts of such hatred and discrimination, we MUST choose love. We simply do not have the right, having understood and having seen what Christ did for us, we do not have the right to stand by and do nothing.
"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
This past year I had the great privilege of getting to do life in the Middle East. I got to spend day and night living with Jordanian neighbours, Syrian roommates, Egyptian housemates, and Palestinian friends. These men, woman, and children truly became dear friends of mine. They welcomed me into their homes, they gave me their food and drink, no matter how little of it they had to offer, they let me into their struggles, and they called me their friend.
I got to sit and have conversations with Syrian refugees, I got to hear their stories, I heard how they were fleeing for their lives, simply trying to survive. Simply trying to find a safe place to raise their families.
Dear brothers and sisters. Please in the face of evil in the world, in the face of such great fear, please choose love. We cannot choose any other option and still call Jesus the Lord of our actions. Yes, that might sound harsh. It might over-zealous, but we are to be known by our Love. We cannot simply accept the grace and love that Jesus has pour out upon us, even when we were "enemies of the cross", and keep it for ourselves. We must respond the same. To Love.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
Radical Islam does seek to kill, steal, and destroy. It is evil. But for us to forsake those whom are caught in the wake of this evil, which we can name and give a face to, for us to sit by and do nothing, for us to forfeit them to their fate. We cannot say it is what Jesus would ask us to do. We must choose Love.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men to do nothing."
We need to be a people who welcomes the widow and the orphan and those in danger. We need to be a people that seeks justice. And loves mercy. And we need to be a people that pray fervently.
Abu Bakr' is not too far gone. The Lord's heart is still that each member of ISIS would some day know Him and worship Him, His heart is that they would turn and repent. So please join me and pray for ISIS. Pray for peace. And pray that Jesus would be known.
We must be a people known by our love.
I'll end with this prayer from St. Francis of Assisi:
"May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done."