It’s no surprise to anyone that our world is in a bit of what most are calling a crisis right now. November 13th was a hard day with so many tragedies spanning from France to Japan. It’s discouraging. We are being faced with a lot of challenges and several more difficulties are still to follow. We live in a world that rages on while we need a second to stop and rest. It’s hard to keep moving in times like these, but I would like to encourage you to do so.
Many of you, I’m sure, will not like what I have to say in this post. That’s fine. These are my words and my feelings. You may do with them what you feel is best, but while you are here, let’s look at some truths.
Truth #1 – If we cared about the world and the people in it as much as we cared about what was on our coffee cups, the world would be a much better place.
It was just a week ago that the internet was run amuck with posts about the “war on Christmas” posed by a man who had no idea what he was talking about. We get so fired up about the most insignificant things. And we feel like we are the persecuted ones? If you feel that Christians in America are being persecuted, I beg you to please go and explore the rest of this planet that we live on.
This leads me in to truth #2 – There are people in the world that are hurting a lot more than we are.
The attacks that happened in Paris are a tragedy. There is no doubt about it. However, that was a taste of what people in Syria are experiencing every single day. It wasn’t long ago that Pope Francis charged every Catholic family in Europe to house at least one refugee. Now, it has been passed to America. I understand the horror that comes with this. Because it truly is terrifying. However, since so many of us love to quote Bible verses, let’s look at one in particular. Let the groaning begin.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 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, 36 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.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Now, I know you think you know where I am going with this, but hold on tight.
This is a pretty obvious passage to point to in this situation and that is how many of you will treat it — a place to point to. But let’s look at it as more than that, because it is. What many people often forget about in this passage is what comes later when Jesus simply says:
“Whatever you didn’t do for the least of these, you didn’t do for me.”
That’s a mouth full, isn’t it? Particularly hard to chew.
Now, before you start with the “but look what happened to Paris” argument, let’s just ease off the throttle a little bit. Jesus never said being with him would be easy. In fact, he said the opposite. He said you would have no place to call your own (Lk. 9:58). Why did he say this? Because we strive for a more permanent place of dwelling and peace (Mt. 6:19-21). And, this is not just a one time deal. This is an every day lifestyle you are choosing to live if you follow him (Lk. 9:23).
We can throw around Bible verses all day long. We can throw arguments and different opinions around all day long. We can say one thing and do the other all day long. But what are we called to do?
Truth #3 – if you want to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk. If you aren’t going to walk, then please do not talk.
We live in a time where what we say is recorded for all eternity through various outlets. Where our Starbucks debacles will live on for all the years to come. How can a group of people be offended by so many things but yet not stand behind anything we feel persecuted about? We become infuriated when a coffee company takes pagan symbols that we think represent “Christmas” off of a coffee cup and we are even ready to go to “war” to defend our capitalist idea of what we think Christmas is but we can’t practice what the season is actually about?
One quick tangent – Joseph and Mary were refugees. If you have ever seen a Nativity scene, which are usually put up around Christmas time, unless you are like me and keep it around all year, you have seen a happy ending to a refugee story. They were on the run. It was possible that their child would be taken away and killed so they left to flee such persecution. They came to Bethlehem, a small city, where there was no room left for them to stay besides the barn. What if the innkeeper had told them no? What if he had turned his back on them in the same fashion that we might do to others?
We talk about our persecutions. We talk about our problems. We complain and gripe about our government not being Christian, and God having no place in our society or our leadership. How do you get more Christian than opening up your home to someone in need, no matter the cost? Knowing that evil exists in the world, but still standing up and doing what is right in the face of evil and living to a higher standard because you have been called to do so? What a righteous thing. And don’t take my word for it. The words are in red.
If we still want to say we are a Christian nation, that is fine. But we have got to stand up behind our words. If we can look into the faces of thousands who are being tortured and killed and honestly turn our backs on them, Christ was talking directly to us when he said:
“Depart from me, you who are cursed…”