What does it mean to be honorable?
Those beautiful words adorn one of the greatest symbols of our nation’s heritage, The Statue of Liberty. This monument is the very embodiment of welcoming strangers into our midst.
Now, all of you who are against America accepting refugees for one reason or another are probably frothing with anger and ready to accuse me of welcoming attack by terrorists. And while you might be right, I’d implore you to consider two things: Honor and Christ.
Being an honorable person means that you conduct yourself honorably not only when people are also honorable. (i.e. You can take refuge in my homeland as long as you are a model citizen and put no strain on us socially or economically.) But Being honorable mean being a person of honor ESPECIALLY when the other party may not act according to your moral or social code. (i.e. You may take refuge here, not because you will behave, but because I believe I’m bound by honor to do the right thing.)
Honor does not care what the other party does or doesn’t do. Just as in our conventions of war, if the enemy stoops to using chemical or biological weapons, we do not. Why? Because we do not believe that these are acceptable in a “humane war”. (If there can be such a thing.) We uphold what we believe to be right, no matter the actions of our enemies.
I, for one, would hope that if the tables were turned, that someone would welcome me in and allow me to take shelter from people who want to destroy me.
Maybe honor is dead.
I have been absolutely disturbed by the amount of Christians who have been so insistent that we either not take any refugees, or that we should screen them by religion. The latter of which would be constitutionally reprehensible in a country where we believe that discrimination on the basis of religion is a cardinal sin. But more importantly, I know that the majority of people who read what I have to say are Bible-believing Christians. So with that in mind, I’m going to say something offensive. (Shocker, I know.)
I believe that Jesus would be disappointed by this.
Jesus and his ministry were the very pinnacle of acceptance. Jesus believed in radical inclusivity. This is evidenced by the people he surrounded himself with. While Jesus may have come from a blue-collar family, he had the respect and credibility and social standing enough to be named “Rabbi” by other Jews. He was considered, even by his adversaries to be at least a Prophet of God. Even so, he didn’t shy away from people who were the social pariah of his day. He spent time with tax collectors, and prostitutes. He included people of low social standing into his inner circle. He associated with sinners and the unclean.
The greatest part of this is that he still does this. Maybe many of us have forgotten, but Jesus reached you. He knows all of the horrible things you’ve done and still he reaches out to you. He even has the ability to touch dangerous people. In fact, statistically, he’s doing just that in the middle east. Christian conversion is at an unprecedented level in countries like Saudi-Arabia, Iraq, and even Syria.
The most astounding thing about all of this is that God, in his sovereignty isn’t waiting for us to do what he commanded us to. In the midst of this horrible situation where the enemies of Christ are rising up to slaughter the innocent, God has created a way for us to not only offer political refuge, but also to be the only expression of Christ that these people may have ever seen. We have the opportunity to reach out to a people group that may have never have been available to us. We could welcome them to a country where we have real printed Bibles, in excess. Ones that they wouldn’t be executed for having in their possession.
The sad truth of the matter is that there is nothing stopping terrorism from taking place in the world. We have seen this evidenced by the recent bombings in Beirut and Paris. We could close our borders, but then I’d have to bring up how many people currently come into the U.S. every year illegally already. No, I’m convinced the only thing rejecting refugees would serve to do is stopping us from showing love to people who are in desperate need of it.
I know that many people will disagree with me. That’s okay, I’m not expecting people to agree. I only wonder if you can take the time to ask yourself if there is still honor in america? Is there still honor in you?