Christians and the Immigration/refugee Issue
Cristianity and the Immigration/Refugee Issue
Where does one begin if one is committed to offending no one. Perhaps it is an impossibility. A task we pursue knowing beforehand that futility shadows too many of our endeavors. One may remain silent and escape the coming criticism or shrug aside the consequences. Personally, I find that aging is better suited to the shrugging aside of whatever comes. It isn't that I welcome the coming criticism, its just that I am finally old enough to know criticism does not come because of what I write, it comes regardless. What I write simply determines from which side the criticism will come.
What’s wrong with America today isn’t Trump or the republicans or the democrats. It isn’t the refugee crisis or the 2nd amendment. It isn’t the price of medication or the tax code. These and hundreds of other distractions have followed us since the beginning of time and shall do so until the end of time. What’s wrong with America is we the people.
America and every one of us, individually, are building a house. We are building families, lives and a country. We are contractors, every one of us. As contractors we must begin with a foundation and that is the subject of my letter. We cannot lay a foundation and then build willy-nilly wherever we like. We are restricted by the confines of our foundation. It dictates where we go, why we go and how we go. It is a good idea, as contractors, to step back occasionally and examine the house we are building. It is what contractors due. They constantly review the plans that build the house upon the completed foundation.
As a Christian, most of my friends accumulated throughout my life are also Christians and we are all building on the same foundation. So it is that I write specifically to them. What’s wrong with America is we the people. What’s wrong with the church is we the people and what’s wrong with the house that we are building is we the people. If we are as angry and divisive as the rest of America then I question if we are building willy-nilly, if we are taking time to examine fidelity to our foundation or if we are inadvertently straying from our instruction.
In the song “Hosanna” by “Hillsong,” the third verse is a prayer. We sing the words, we raise our hands to heaven and we feel the implications of what we are praying. We know inherently that the words are true because they are written upon the tablet of our hearts and as we sing the words, we know for the moment, the intimacy of communion.
“Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you,
have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
everything I am for your kingdoms cause.”
The prayer in this verse is about the human heart and it is the condition of that heart that is the foundation upon which we build our house. If His heart breaks ours should do nothing less than mirror that breaking because the core of our heart is His heart. One cannot break without the other also breaking and if it does not then we must step back and examine the plans which are instructing us. We cannot pray “break my heart for what breaks yours” and then post the things which are being posted. We cannot pray “break my heart for what breaks yours” and then say the things we are saying and worst of all, we cannot pray “break my heart for what breaks yours” and feel the things which we are feeling. What’s wrong with America is that our hearts are not breaking in step with the heart of God.
I will preface the state of our hearts concerning immigration and the worldwide refugee crisis by confessing that I have no answer to its appropriate resolution but it isn’t its resolution which is the problem. The problem is that His heart is breaking for every one of them and ours is not. I know that we can’t take every refugee or immigrant wanting American entry. I know that we can’t resolve all of the problems that are driving them here but resolution isn’t the problem, it never was. The problem is that that the problem itself isn’t breaking our hearts. The problem is we know we can’t take them all so we stopped wanting too. Wanting too is everything. It reveals everything that is good within us or everything that is bad within us. Simply letting my heart break in step with His will not resolve the issue. Letting my heart break when His breaks will not fix the world but it will fix me and if enough of us get fixed, I can’t help but wonder what God in us can do. “Open up our eyes to the things unseen.” There are few resolutions in the things we see but there is nothing but resolution in the secrets that lay unseen before us. The problem with America isn’t in the things we think we see. The problem with America is that we stopped believing that God can fix things which to us, seem insurmountable; it is His job, not ours. Ours is to fix ourselves. His heart whispers to us but the carnal us cannot hear the whisper above the fear and anger shouting for entry at our ears. It comes from every direction, it always has. It always will. It comes to devour, to shut up the whisper.
The problem with America isn't the problem confronting us. It is the one we are running away from. It begins in our heart and it ends in our heart and everything before us grows in between. Because we can't fix the problem doesn't mean we shouldn't want to. It is wanting too that breaks our heart, but then, that is the point isn't it.