Dear American Christians,
Perhaps its time we begin to live a little bit more from our “Christian” place of identity than our “American” identity. Perhaps its time we ask ourselves if our loyalty lies more in patriotism than in Christ. Perhaps its time we accept our role as protectors/comforters/mothers & fathers of all GOD’s children instead of just our own blood children, or American children.
You see, American Christians are divided these days. But I don’t think the division is over whether to let in the refugees (with potential undercover terrorists).
This topic is merely exposing an already existent division.
A division of what following Jesus even means, even looks like, & even costs.
From what I’ve heard & seen (from many people I deeply love), they were taught following Jesus means being an American Christian. You go to church. You don’t have sex before marriage. You read your bible & try to have a “personal relationship” with Jesus. You go to college. Find a passion(which equals a business or communications major). Then you get married (to the opposite sex of course) and you have children. Maybe buy a 2 story home somewhere in that mix.
& you do everything in your power to give your children a safe, comfortable life. Risks are fine—in the form of week long foreign mission trips & moving to a new state to plant a church. You know, the safe kind of risks.
Leading to an incomplete summary that your life is meant to be spent protecting & providing for your family. Your blood/marital family, that is. With the exception of a few childhood friends or friend’s children who call you aunt & uncle.
God has entrusted you to parent & protect your own children & you will keep them safe & raise them to be God-loving, church-going, tithe-giving men & women.
Here’s the single truth that makes me wrestle the idea that this is not the full call of the Christian life: We call our god Father, which makes us sons & daughters—adopted children. Not His temporary children. Not “almost like His children”. Not “foster children”.
Fully adopted, fully loved, fully forgiven, fully BLOOD children. We were spiritually orphaned children & God’s all inclusive, non-American, all-nations arms welcomed us in.
He gave us a home—heaven.
He clothed us—forgiveness.
He gave us food—his word.
He gave us a family—one another.
His heart is adoption
You see—American children are not more valuable than Syrian (or any other nation’s) children. The children you birthed are not worth more than the children HE birthed into this world. Your mind will tell you so. & by all means, God wants you to love & protect your kids. But the mind of Christ tells you this: all of My children need protecting—especially the ones who no one else is protecting.
There is nothing honorable about us regarding our country & our children more valuable than another’s.
The thing is…if you are a follower of Jesus, your children really aren’t yours anyways. Your children are entrusted to you. But your children are God’s.
If the goal is to preserve our lives, our children’s lives, & the lives of Americans—by all means…close the borders. But do not claim this is the heart of God or the mind of Christ.
His heart is adoption.
Not in a legal sense. (I am not suggesting every American Christian adopts a refugee—although the thought has crossed my mind). I’m talking about adoption in a spiritual sense, a posture of our heart.
We call our god Father, which makes us sons & daughters—adopted children & we were/are loved by that Father who called us by name when we were lonely & hungry & looking for home.
There are millions of children who are lonely & hungry & looking for home.
We were them.
In many ways, we still are them.
Will we call them by name?
Will we welcome them, knowing they will come with perhaps harmful baggage?
Will we risk our safety & lives because Jesus not only risked but relinquished His, to welcome us into His homeland?
Jesus was a Middle Easterner who died to give us freedom & a home.
We claim to follow Him & yet we are clenching our freedom, preserving our lives, hoarding our home—at the cost of Middle Easterners suffering & dying.
I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all solution. I’m asking God to help me see my role in the Redemption story, because I believe we all have one. I’m begging him to show me what the next step for me is & to give me the strength & grace to accept the cost it will incur. Because welcoming anybody into our home & hearts comes with a deep cost (& typically a deep joy). I don’t think I’m ready to do what God will ask of me. I don’t think you will be either.
God asks crazy, costly things of us that somehow metamorphosize into crazy, beautiful things. Abraham waited years for a son. Finally, after disbelieving laughter & years of waiting, Isaac came. He loved him deep & well like any long awaited father would do. Unexpectedly God asked him to give away the son he had just received. Abraham said yes. Because he trusted that God’s ways were best, even though it seemed foolish, if not insane. Perhaps welcoming refugees isn’t the “wisest” decision, from where we’re standing.
But God stands higher
& sees farther
& until the day we sit before & with him…
He gives us His heart—His heart of adoption.
I don’t think American people will go unscathed. You might get hurt. Your children might get hurt. But if so, at least we will be wounded in the process of living out what His wounds were meant for—making orphans into children.
(I don't write this at you. I am one of you. I write this & therefore make permanent the call I feel that so quickly passes when my enemies that conceal as friends—fear & comfort—overtake me. I write to hold myself accountable to the calling I feel God stirring within me. I write to tell you I'm afraid & it's so hard...actually following His words that I don't want to hear. I write in hopes that we can become less afraid together.)