Monday, November 30, 2015

Every Tribe

Warning: Opinions will be shared. I do this so rarely on my blog anymore, because I seem to make enemies when I do. I wish I was born with strong convictions AND a thick skin. Seems I only got the first. I'm praying about the second and I'm a work in progress.

One of the most beautiful pictures in Revelation to me is that of people from every tribe, every nation, and every tongue worshiping God together. I was asked this week what this means to me as I look forward to eternity, and my response is complete humility. That God would choose ME to be part of the kingdom of priests who will worship Him someday, knowing how unworthy I am. I just can't fathom that. And yet - even while I am chosen, I am no more or less valuable to Him because of where I live, my race or ethnicity, or even my socio-economic status.

I love being an American. But I struggle with the mentality that we're "the greatest" nation on earth. I don't for a second believe that I'm better or more worthy of freedom and safety than someone from, say, Syria.

I've seen how the world has responded to the refugee crisis, and my heart breaks when I see the fear-mongering and responses of my Christian brothers and sisters. When I repeatedly see the argument to take care of our veterans (a cause I support wholeheartedly) instead of the refugees (why does it have to be either/or?) Do I believe our leaders have a responsibility to protect those within our borders? Absolutely. Do I believe screening should be in place? Yes. Am I calling to swing open the doors of our borders without any caution? No.

But I've taught refugees. I know what their families have fled. I know a man who watched his entire family be murdered in Burundi - and traveled on foot by night to flee that country. I walked through a concentration camp, and later the Holocaust Museum. America's history is not so long, and yet have we forgotten a boat full of Jewish refugees who were turned away and back to their deaths?

Personal opinions aside, what does God have to say about refugees? Plenty. Starting with Matthew 25. He clearly talks about how we treat a stranger/foreigner is also how we treat Him. I've agonized and prayed over how God would have the Church respond. This article was particularly well written.

I've asked. I've searched. I keep hearing "take care of our own." And we should. But nowhere in the Bible do I see God's attitude that "our own" are more important or more valuable than caring for strangers. I've even had "friends" in the last two months tell me my children aren't as worthy of love and a family because they weren't born in America. Needless to say, this argument doesn't sit well with me.

I'm truly open if you can point me to passages (in context) that will further challenge me. Right now, my strong conviction takes me back to the thought that I am no more or less valuable to God because of my circumstances.

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