“He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18 (ESV)
Christians are used to hearing people say “it’s the Christian thing to do.” Most often, it is by people deeply hostile to Christianity who say it. I get this all the time — even more so since I announced I am going to seminary. Liberals with no sense of Christianity want to tell Christians how they must behave and, by and large, hate us when we behave as Christians.
Now, I know many of you do not share my faith. But there is a larger point that must be made here so bear with me. Tolerance is not a Christian value. It is necessary in the course of civil and democratic society to be tolerant of other people’s ideas and opinions, but tolerance for the sake of tolerance is not a Christian value.
Charity and mercy are Christian values. I look at the deep and hostile reaction to Glenn Beck’s effort of late to provide charity to the illegal immigrants at the border and I am shaking my head at some of my fellow Christians and fellow conservatives.
I do not think the government should be helping these people stay here. I do not think the government should be bussing them to other places. I do not think we should let these people stay here. But I think while here we should, in private charity, show mercy and give comfort where we can.
I think of the Emma Lazarus poem, “The New Colossus,” at the base of the statue of liberty.
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!
I am a citizen of the United States and I appreciate people are yearning to breathe free in America. But I am a citizen of the United States and want our laws enforced, our borders secured, and these illegal aliens — some not yearning to breathe free, but here with other motives — sent home.
I am also a citizen of the Kingdom of God. And I want these people, particularly the children, to know Christian charity and love and to go home understanding that we are willing for them to come — but to come legally and lawfully through secure borders.
What Glenn Beck is doing is the kind thing to do. He is using his own money, while calling on the government to enforce the law. Conservatives and Christians can both want American borders secured and our laws enforced. But we should also be willing to show personal and private grace, mercy, and charity to the many troubled souls who have come here as they have.
I hope you might consider donating to Samaritan’s Purse to help.
People are fond of asking “what would Jesus do” in these types of situations. As my friend Mollie Hemingway has pointed out before, we already know. Jesus would submit himself to torture, be crucified, and die for us. Then he would conquer death itself and through his act save all of us who accept him into our lives.
So the question should not be what would Jesus do, but what would those of us who love him do.
I think we would honor the law and want others to honor the law, but would also show faith, hope, charity, grace, and mercy to those who need it as we work to send them home. And we would do so on our own without needing government spending to pave over the government incompetence that got us to this point.
“The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.” Acts 28:2 (ESV)