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An Open Letter to My Christian Brothers and Sisters

  1. Comments will not be open on this post. This is so that you are free to read and absorb the words rather than read while formulating a response. We’re far better at listening when we’re not preparing to reply.
  2. This post is about Jesus Christ, not Donald Trump.

This morning I woke up to this:

I have a wise friend who once told me a profound truth. In every moment of choice, we are motivated by one of two things: fear or love. If you stop and think about that, you’ll find it to be universally true. Yes, fear is often represented by its friends anger, insecurity, and hate, and love is often personified in its sisters compassion, empathy, and kindness, but the root motivations for our decisions are either fear or love. Period.

The decision to author an executive order titled, “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals” is based in nothing but fear. And friends, please hear me on this. It is an unfounded fear. In our circles we give unfounded fear a powerful and important title – A Lie From the Enemy.

The CATO Institute, a conservative think tank, published a policy analysis in September of last year called, “Terrorism and Immigration: A Risk Analysis.” In it they shared that, “…the chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year.” Please read that sentence again.

Also, please do not fool yourselves into believing that Islam is the only religion that has been hijacked by radicals who defile its tenants and twist its words in order to justify their own hate. Christians, I believe we all know that our faith has also been and continues to be used in perverse ways.

KKK

And now to a more important source, the Word of God. The NIV mentions love 551 times, many of those occurrences written by the love apostle, John, who wanted future Christians to understand what his friend Jesus valued. And how often does the Word tell us not to fear? 365 times. That’s one “fear not” for every day of the year.

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. – John 14:27

America is a beautiful, prosperous, and complicated place. Our nation was built on the backs of slaves and immigrants, over the graves of indigenous people. That is a difficult reality to stomach at times, isn’t it? This is not the first moment in the history of this nation where the personal comfort of some is prioritized over the very lives and existence of many.

IMAGE: EDWARD S. CURTIS/LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Source: EDWARD S. CURTIS/LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

And this is not the first moment in history when our personal battle with fear has collided with immigration and refugees.

Source: The National Archives

Source: The National Archives

chinesehate

irishhate

holocaust

Somehow we’ve managed to separate all of the fear and self-preservation in our history from our own current-day motivations. Even the fact that Anne Frank and her family were denied asylum in the United States fails to move our hearts to action. We’re inexplicably able to shake our heads in horror at the deaths of the Frank family and millions like them without facing the truth that those deaths could have been prevented by people like us.

By people like us.

That we could prevent similar deaths today and we simply refuse due to fear.

I have always enjoyed genealogy and must admit to taking a lot of comfort over the years in the fact that my ancestors have seemingly always been on the right side of history. My people never owned slaves. To be honest, they didn’t own much of anything. Among my ancestors you’ll find many escaping religious intolerance at best, persecution at worst, and some of my relatives came to this country under the yoke of indentured servitude.

But I wonder now if not being on the wrong side of history is enough, if quietly watching as the jerking and sudden shift of our nation’s rudder really means that we’re in the right. I understand that we’re not at the helm. But does our faith demand something more than silence? I believe that it does.

And now a confession. I almost didn’t publish this post.

helpless

How do we fight back against the steamrolling power of an executive order? What can we do that could possibly have any impact?

And then God convicted me of my pride, reminding me that He is on the throne, that this is not about what we can do, but rather about what He can do.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… – Ephesians 3:20

So I am asking you to pray.

I wanted to end with a list of Members of Congress to call, addresses where you can send letters, marches you can join, petitions you can sign.

But instead I’m asking you to search your hearts and to pray, to pray for the supernatural courage that can only come from our Lord and Savior, the courage to choose your words and actions in the coming days from a position of love and not of fear. Let us be still for a moment, preparing for the coming battles, and may He lead us to the paths where we can, in His strength, finally turn the tide. Amen.

2 timothy