I know that I said yesterday that I would share some stories this week about former persecutors of Christians, and I promise that I will get to those stories.
But I feel the need to speak about something else first.
According to Reuters and many other news sources,
“U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign executive orders starting on Wednesday that include a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries, say congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter.
Trump, who tweeted that a ‘big day’ was planned on national security on Wednesday, is expected to ban for several months the entry of refugees into the United States, except for religious minorities escaping persecution, until more aggressive vetting is in place.
Another order will block visas being issued to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen . . .” – Reuters; Ainsley; 25 Jan. 2017
It has been argued that President Trump will have no authority to ban or target Muslims, or create a Muslim registry in the United States, both of which are unconstitutional. But are these policies a way of going around the Constitution?
A word to Christians on this matter
I will agree that Christians and Muslims have a long, long, long history of deep-rooted hatred of one another. Hugh Goddard wrote a really good book titled A History of Christian-Muslim Relations (2000; New Amsterdam Books) if you’re interested in reading more about this.
And I will agree that in recent years, Islamic radicals have not made it easy for Christians to find anything good about the Islamic religion, despite the fact that a majority of Muslims do not approve of the persecution of Christians and other minorities by these fanatics.
But, during the past year or so, I have been seeing so many Christians advocate for the policies that President Trump campaigned on and is now enacting within days of his inauguration.
And this bothers me. It doesn’t bother me because it’s just my opinion. But it bothers me that so many American Christians are favoring policies that are unbiblical and could prove detrimental.
What the Bible have to say?
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” -Luke 6: 27-36; c.f. Matt. 5: 43-48
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:12-21
“Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
As Christians, we are to be in this world, but not of this world (John 17:16). Our first allegiance is to God’s kingdom and his word. We are not to fear or hate those we believe are our enemies, but rather to love them.
Please do not hear what I am NOT saying.
I am not advocating for us to sit idly by and let others harm us. I am not saying that we should not fight for the injustices in this world, especially when our fellow Christians are persecuted.
But, we should not and cannot support governmental policies created out of fear.
For these policies of building walls and discriminating against religious groups will bring more persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters from people groups who already hate them, and us.
As Christians, we are to be a peace-seeking people, not supporting policies that may lead to global strife and wars.
And we, as Christians, are not to live in fear. These policies perpetuate fear.
Some say persecution of Christians is on the rise in America. I ask those who support this theory, then why would you then want to discriminate against others? As Christians, God’s people, we are not supposed to repay evil for evil, but rather let God work out his own vengeance.
I pray that God will step in and stop this endless circle of fear and hatred, and I pray that each and every Christian will find it in their heart to stand up against all policies advocating for religious discrimination, even if that discrimination is against those of another religion.
In the Prince of Peace’s name, Jesus,