So, after the cowardly bombing in Manchester killed many and wounded, even more, the stories of heroes begin to emerge. Emergency services of all sorts were brave no doubt as they always are. The other day in Manchester two homeless men heard the blast as they were sleeping on the cement near the bomb site. Stephen Jones and his fellow homeless friend ran toward the bomb site and began to help all of the people that they could. They pulled nails out of the skin of child victims and help clean off the blood that had gotten on so many people. A good Samaritan returned the bravery by renting an apartment for six months for the homeless heroes. Remember the next time you see a street person that they are people just like us who have the capacity to be passionate, brave and giving. Sometimes, we just need a reminder that the poor are part of our communities and regardless of why they are homeless and poor they deserve our friendship, mercy, compassion and help if we have anything to give. Mercy always trumps judgment.
**Note: This was previously published in November of 2011. I have only done minor editing. My intended audience was and still is the Church. I am not directly addressing the issue of the executive orders that President Trump has signed. However, I think the Church should set our default to mercy. When the battle over the current immigration directives subsides the church should still ALWAYS act with love and mercy.***
18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.
There is no basis in scripture for granting someone mercy or not showing them mercy because of their legal status. No matter how we feel about immigration on a personal level it is clear that we are to act with kindness and compassion when dealing with illegal aliens. When dealing with old or young people finding themselves here without documentation we ought to be extra sure we act with the kindness of Jesus.
19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.
God specifically calls us to share with the alien. As Christians, if mercy toward the alien isn’t our first inclination, a spiritual check up is more than likely in order.
What it comes down to is understanding that we as Christians are called to show mercy (James 2:13, Proverbs 21:13.) I am a proud American. However, if I have to choose between my personal political beliefs and following the counsel of Jesus I will always do my best to be in step with Jesus. It is an issue of our hearts. I am not asking any of us to do anything else than to make being ourselves a mirror of the grace of Jesus.
This is a short thumbnail glance at a complex issue. Christians are called to welcome the alien; to comfort the alien, bind up their wounds, feed them, etc.
Oh, one thing I am sure of: God is not pleased when He sees his followers putting up signs, billboards, internet posts that make it seem like illegals are not welcome and will be hunted down, all in the guise of “law and order!” The vast majority of the time that is an excuse for bigotry. We can be wise about possible threats to our nation while still being people who reflect the mercy of Christ.