Honor is Dead.

What does it mean to be honorable?

I think about the word Honor a lot. What does it mean to be honorable. My favorite author, Brandon Sanderson dives into this in his popular series, The Stormlight Archive, which I HIGHLY recommend. Brandon deals with the idea that “honor is dead” and while Sanderfans everywhere know that there’s more to that statement than meets the eye, let’s just say that this statement has been haunting my thoughts about giving people political refuge.
In case you’ve been living under a rock lately, the US is faced with either admitting or rejecting refugees from the ISIS threat. Many people are vehemently against this. Some would have no qualms about admitting any and all refugees our system can sustain. Other people would have no problem admitting refugees, as long as they are not Muslim. This has caused no small amount of political posturing, and Facebook ranting.
yazidi-refugees-flee-iraq
Image source: www.ibtimes.co.uk
Back to honor, though, I believe that we as a country have lost sight of something.
 This nation used to be honorable.
This nation was built on the foundations of life, liberty and religious freedom. We believed in the unalienable right to live. We did our best to fight injustice. We were seen as the land of opportunity because ANYONE could come here to make a better life for themselves. We became the melting pot of the world because we encouraged members of all walks of life to make this place their home, regardless of race, religion, creed, or social status. This sentiment was expressed perhaps best by Emma Lazarus in her poem The New Colossus: 
 
 “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

   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?

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