This was written by my husband on Facebook and I thought he voiced his thoughts well on this very volatile issue.
Please bear with me. What I am about to write is the result of a week long time of soul searching and reflection upon this issue. My thinking on this issue has gone back and forth all week. I’d like to share with you (or maybe just need to get my thoughts written down for myself) how I, as a Bible believing Christian view the refugee issue. Remember, I speak only for myself and not all people that claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
This article was posted by several of my friends in the past week. Initially I was angry. I hate that people (usually on the left) use Scripture to make political points. The point of the Bible (but really the New Testament) is to tell a story of God’s love for the world. The whole New Testament can really be summarized with one verse- John 3:16. Jesus and the New Testament writers instruct human beings on how to better love God and their neighbors, But really makes no proclamations (as far as I can remember) on how nations should behave (much is said in the Old Testament about the Nation of Israel and their off and on relationship with believing and trusting God).
Anyway, I saw this article and started writing a post to slam it. Once again, I thought, the left is misquoting Scripture to suit their needs. So I looked up the verse. And it was quoted exactly as the version I read (New International Version (NIV). Nuts! Well they must be taking the verse out of context. Yes, that’s it. Common mistake among those wanting to “use” Scripture for their own purpose. So I went to a good website that answers a lot of Biblical questions, www.gotquestions.org. And guess what? The verse actually pertains very well to this issue and the verse is completely in context. I suggest you read the text in the following link, but will only quote the most pertinent part here:
“Jesus begins the parable by saying it concerns His return in glory to set up His kingdom (verse 31). Therefore, the setting of this event is at the beginning of the millennium, after the tribulation. All those on earth at that time will be brought before the Lord, and He will separate them “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left” (verses 32-33).
The sheep on Jesus’ right hand are blessed by God the Father and given an inheritance. The reason is stated: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (verses 35-36). The righteous will not understand: when did they see Jesus in such a pitiful condition and help Him? “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’” (verses 39-40).
The goats on Jesus’ left hand are cursed with eternal hell-fire, “prepared for the devil and his angels” (verse 41). The reason is given: they had opportunity to minister to the Lord, but they did nothing (verses 42-43). The damned ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” (verse 44). Jesus replies, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (verse 45).”
Salvation does not come from our good works, but from our faith in Jesus and his sacrifice for our sins on the cross. For Christians, works come as a result of salvation- not the reverse. And in a small sense I might say that the article’s title does not truly reflect the breadth and scope of “belief in God”.
Several days ago, Teri told me about a group of Christian leaders that wrote a letter to President Trump. She mentioned it was signed by two pastors with churches in O.C. that we have attended over the past two decades, The Crossing in Costa Mesa and Mariners Church in Irvine. Here is the link to that letter:
In this letter the Christian leaders, while acknowledging President Trump’s desire to keep Americans safe, also state their commitment to follow Scripture and care for those that are persecuted and also their willingness to accept responsibility for a larger number of refugees than allowed with the executive order. This helped cement my belief that my attitude must change.
Throughout this whole issue I realized something. Fear is the driving factor behind our wanting to keep people that may hurt us away. And that fear is completely understandable. But the Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. Oops, I hate it when I’m forced to consider whether or not to follow the words I say I believe in!
So, where does this leave me now? Well first, and above all else, I will trust God- trust Him that He loves me and wants what is best for me. As to a temporary restriction on immigration, I find nothing in the U.S. Constitution that prohibits it, and actually think that presidents have a right to do so. I will do what the Christian leaders told President Trump, “As Christians we are committed to praying for our elected officials. Our prayer is that God would grant President Trump and all our leaders divine wisdom as they direct the course of our nation. We also pray for the vulnerable individuals whom their decisions directly impact.” Beyond that, should we accept some refugees, whether Christian, Muslim or any (or no) religion, I will follow what Scripture declares and welcome them and give them comfort.
To my friends that post articles that seem controversial please understand that many times I do read them and use the articles, as iron sharpens iron to strengthen my arguments. Or, as happened in this case, to sometimes listen to God, study and conform my believes to what the Author of the Universe wants me to believe.