should we let them in?

Late last night, I posted this on Facebook:

Yesterday my blood was boiling as I watched fellow Americans, who call themselves Christians, vehemently argue against welcoming refugees into the United States. Today, the anger is down to a simmer, and my heart is just broken. Broken for those who are blinded by fear & nationalism & a desire for safety & comfort that trumps any desire to love like Jesus loves, to have our hearts broken for what breaks his. Father, forgive us for obeying only the parts of the Bible that are convenient for us and require no sacrifice. Open our eyes and hearts to your true gospel. Amen.

Then I shut my laptop and went right to bed.

When I woke up this morning, an entire conversation/debate awaited me. I found it very interesting and thought you might too. I won’t offer any commentary right now (going to pray more before I say more). It speaks for itself.

(Note: I changed their real names to their first initial, even though they wrote their comments in a very public forum that belongs to me. Dee and Kay are women. Christians. Jay is a guy. And is not a Christian.)

Dee–I have to speak out. Jesus never said open your borders to potential criminals. Do you think that everyone who wants to come in has pure motives. Do you think we should just let any single person into our country. I am a born again Christian and I believe that we cannot just open the gates to anyone. You realize the evil out there, right. Do you understand that nations want to eliminate Israel and the US for all that matters off the map? I would love to have Syrian Christians being brought in to the US. But our president doesn’t want more Christians coming in. We have the Pope addressing US immigration problems. Did u watch that interview? Why should Americans ask the Pope for immigration solutions? I know why, people want to put him in charge of a one world religion. Do you see what is happening. Madonna is paving the way for the Pope. She will be in Madison Square Garden then about a week later he will be. Then she is performing in Philadelphia, then here he comes. Do you know what her concert name is. Something like….Desecration of the Bride and the Coming of Fallen Angels. We Christians need to stand up for this country, the Bible and God. We can love each other to hell or love them to Jesus. There is a difference.

Kay–We are participating in evil when we refuse to welcome our neighbor, and I’m pretty sure we don’t get to pick and choose who fits that definition. How lovely to welcome the Christian, now step out of your comfort zone and take it a step further.

Dee–I disagree. We, as a nation, are not going to be punished if we are trying to protect our country. Look at Israel, for example, they wouldn’t allow me to move there and live permanently. Is that wrong of them?

Kay–Yeah, I don’t think you’ll find that instruction anywhere in the Bible.

Should we be motivated by, and drawing the line at, what God will not punish us for, or should we be asking instead, who he wants us to serve?

Dee–We need to learn His will for both what He wants us to do, as in serving for example, and knowing His heart. We can tolerate everything and look like we are loving people or we can look at the Bible for examples of what we should or should not accept as the truth. God always protected Israel and always will, But Many of Their People Will Die

Do you believe there should be a 2 state solution. Israel and Palestine?

Jay–I am not a Christian, Dee, but even I can see a shocking difference between your attitude and that modeled by Christ. Did he not say, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Did he not teach that if a stranger asks us for our shirt, we should give them our jacket also? I see none of that spirit reflected in your words. What does being a follower of Christ mean to you, exactly?

Kay–And how will they know we are Christians? By our love.

Jay–Germany is being the most Christ-like of anyone then!

Kathi–Probably because the alternative is so real for them. Amazing, the opportunity for redemption that they have been given and have accepted.

Dee–Jay, I am sorry that you do not see Christ by my post. Christ was not always happy and being nice to everyone, he did get angry. I am not trying to portray anger right now. But one thing He is is love and gives rest to anyone who needs it. I could go on about all the charities I volunteer with and money I give to my church and the poor but I am not here to convince you that I am a Christian because He knows that I am and He knows our hearts. I tell everyone that I meet at stores, etc. to have a blessed day and I mean it from my heart. Think of my attitude as a parent who loves their children but sometimes they have to discipline or say something that their children don’t want to hear. That doesn’t make them unkind or unloving, just a little unpopular for the moment.

Jay–Those are fine words, but didn’t Paul tell us that we can speak with the tongues of angels, but if we don’t have love, we sound as clashing cymbals? I also think of the story of the Good Samaritan… all the others stepped around the abused man, or “blessed” him with their words, but only one man actually took him in and clothed him. Christ tells us that when we show this sort of active sacrificial love, when we feed the hungry and shelter the refugee, we are really feeding and sheltering him.

All of Christ’s teachings and personal examples lead us to the inescapable conclusion that he would take in all of these refugees, not just 10,000… so it surprises me to see those who say they follow him opposing this charity.

These people aren’t children for us to punish… they are refugees who need help. Your attitude seems to show no heart or willingness to shoulder their cross as you believe Christ shouldered yours.

Debbie–Jay, I am speaking about immigration in general, not a specific instance. You don’t know me and your trying to say that I have no love. I just told my husband last night that I would take all the Syrian children that I could if their parents wanted them to go so that they might have a future. I would understand if they didn’t want to send them away even if it meant their survival. This is why I speak out when people are judging other people and they don’t even know them. I am not bashing you or any other individual here. We all just need to wake up to what is going on around us. If ISIS was at my door right now and wanted to kill me I would show them love and I am sure that wouldn’t work. Next they’d tell me to leave or they would kill me. I probably would just let them kill me. There is no fear of death when u have the love of Christ. Maybe one day we will meet and you will see the love of Christ.

Jay–And let’s look at when Christ got angry… wasn’t it always at people who were more concerned with their own health and wealth than the needs of others or doing the right thing? And didnt he also tell us that if we brag about the good works we do, our reward is not in heaven? So why are you telling me about the money you give to your church and the poor? I am sorry, Dee, but I think you may not truly know Christ as well as you think you do if even an unbeliever is able to use his teachings to point out your inconsistency…

Dee–I was not saying the immigrants are our children. I was explaining my attitude from my post. I wasn’t directing my post toward the immigrants. They aren’t the ones reading the post. It was simply an illustration for you as to why I was speaking as I was. You know much gets lost in written words.

Jay–You originally said that you think we should take in only Syrian Christians, Dee… Only the Christians… leaving the others out in the cold. That is the attitude I am addressing.

Obviously we would not let in those with links to jihadism. Everyone else though is innocent and needs our help. Obama is trying to do that.

Dee–Jay I told you that I could go on about the things I do but I didn’t do it. I could have written a long paragraph but that is not something I would do. You ask me specifically what was I doing that made me believe I was a Christian. Part of what we do is give, we volunteer, we pray, we are in relationship with Christ. We love, serve, etc. It appears that you like to read scripture to trip up Christians.

I said I would love for Syrian Christians to be able to come in. I never said they are the only people that should come in. Please don’t add to what my posts say.

Jay–Do you feel tripped up?

Dee–No because I know who I am and to whom I belong. Are you an Obama fan? I won’t even go there.

Jay–I don’t like everything about his presidency, no. He hasnt done what he could have to end the military engagment Bush started. We’re still in the longest war our country has ever seen. But I also see far more compassion and human decency in his domestic policies than I do from the right.

Dee–The media likes to portray the right side as being heartless and it just isn’t so. It really saddens me.

Jay– So Dee, since I misunderstood you (I apologize), let me just ask you for clarity. Do you think we should grant asylum and refuge to these families in need from Syria right now?

Dee–Anyone being forced out of their country by evil forces should be allowed in. Fair enough?

Jay–Conservatives are trying to deny the rights of gay people to marry. They fight social welfare at every level. They defend corporations and enable those at the top to continue increasing the wealth disparity… there is no compassion in these policies. That’s not a media portrayal. It’s an assessment based on actions and rhetoric coming from the right… generally the religious right, most of whom I find either don’t know the Bible very well or are too full of esoteric theology to appreciate the real human problems crying out in front of them.

Yes that’s totally fair! I’m happy to hear you do agree with Marla after all! It sounded for a minute like you were objecting to what she posted.

Dee–I don’t think they fight social welfare as much as you might say…it depends on the issue. When we start changing definitions of words and taking out all respect for God (prayer out of schools, taking down crosses, taking down the 10 commandments, erecting Satan momuments, etc. That is when we have problems.

Jay–Anyway. Glad to hear you support Syrian refugees receiving aid and asylum here on our shores.

Dee–May your day be blessed!

5 thoughts on “should we let them in?

  1. Sue Oda

    Marla, I left a long comment this morning after thinking about it for a couple days. However, when I hit Submit, it said there was a problem and to try again later. So, you know how it is, being a writer, once you have written it, if the computer crashes and you lose it, it’s hard to get those thoughts and words down the same way. So, that is what happened and I said, Lord, must be I’m not supposed to send ( I don’t think you would have been offended in any way), but God shut it down for whatever reason.

    One thing I will say about your refugee comment, Marla, Marla, you are worried and upset about many things, but only only one thing is needed…spend time sitting at the feet of Jesus. Only He has the answers for all the pain, hurt and Satantic activity in this world.
    Love you and your family and are praying for you!

  2. Melissa

    Oh I hit post far too soon lol. As soon as I hit it I had another thought. We go into prisons and tell people of God’s love – we don’t think whatever they’ve done is so horrible that God can’t love them.

  3. Melissa

    We often forget about the white people who have committed terrorism as well. Timothy McVeigh, the man (don’t remember his name) who shot up the Sikh temple not far from my home, etc. we never walk around thinking “There’s a white man, he might be a terrorist.” I think often times the fear of Muslim terrorists is just racism by a different name. We should love them, terrorists or not, because even most people wake up and don’t say today I want to become a terrorist – it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens where people lack opportunities of some kind and terrorism has something to offer them. By the way, I took a class on terrorism in college – it comes in all shapes and sizes, many religions, many races, etc. Many more Americans die by car crashes, heart attacks, etc than do from terrorism. I think I wrote a blog post about this, I’ll have to see if I can find it.

    1. Marla Taviano Post author

      Such a great point. I scribbled some thoughts in my journal yesterday about this very idea. Like, say, a 22-year-old Muslim man comes into America with thoughts of terrorism, but it’s going to take him 5 years to gather all the resources & connections he needs to carry out the act.

      In the meantime, his Christian neighbors shower him with unconditional love & care & practical help & cookies. Seems to me they’re going to weaken his resolve just a tiny bit (if not completely). On the other hand, if he gets ignored/glared at/talked about/ostracized by those same neighbors, how much more justified will he feel in committing an act of terrorism against them?

      I’m not saying this is a complete, happy, bow-on-top solution, but love in action is a pretty powerful thing.

      1. Melissa

        I feel like too often people say, “It’s not going to change their minds, so why even try?” Well first off, that’s assuming the outcome before it even happens and second of all, God doesn’t call us to live with conditions only loving the people we think deserve our love. He calls us to love everyone.

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