The foreigner comes into center-focus as the world steps into a new moment. With the executive halt for refugees, and travelers of all kinds from seven countries, many are left asking "Wait. Can he do that?" (This article was helpful in summarizing the order, as well as linking to the full text of the order and several associated laws.)
I certainly don't claim to be an expert in the realm of government, and know that even those who are find the issues to be incredibly complicated. At a tense, significant moment such as this, our culture could use a dose of slowness...
My beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20
The MMT (Modern Millennial Translation) might throw in something about being "slow to share quippy photos" and perhaps "slow to pick a side and demonize your opponent." BUT. That translation isn't a thing. So we'll never know...
Also, what is "the righteousness God desires?" Stay tuned...
In this moment, our country is re-discovering its voice. Sometimes it's a little louder than it was meant to be. Sometimes it's angrier. Sometimes it doesn't even know what it's really saying. But sometimes it does. And as we re-learn the place of protest, and utilize social media as a place to voice disapproval, the individual again has a voice that could, potentially, reach the ears of the world.
With a voice that is warming, we need to carefully consider what words should fill the space in front of us. We need to take initial, emotive opinions, and turn them into carefully informed opinions, and be moved into informed, conscious, careful action.
Turn from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it. Ps 34:14
I do know that America is certainly, currently, not a 'Christian nation'. So my expectation is not that the government will weight its policies against the teachings of Jesus and the law of ancient Israel. But I was hoping...that as a person, you might.
This is what the LORD says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent! Jeremiah 22:3 (this is the righteousness the Lord desires!)
“For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.“So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:17-19
I hope that these words ring in your ears as you live.
At my church, one of our pastors has been teaching on the story of the Good Samaritan. I think that this story has powerful implications for our cultural moment. (If you're interested in hearing, you can listen in)
To understand the story, you need to know, the expert in the law knew his stuff. Jews and Samaritans weren't buddies. The priest and Levite were religious leaders. They should've helped.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Go. Do. Love God. Love people.
May our actions hold as much weight as our speak.