Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Who would like a Skittle?

There has been a lot of hubbub bantered about lately about the United States taking in refugees from war torn countries. One of our candidates for president has advocated for building a wall on our southern border to keep the undesirables out. The same man has used an old analogy about a bowl of candy in regards to the middle east refugees.

As his version of the analogy says the refugees are like a bowl of Skittles. In the bowl of one hundred Skittles there are one or two that are poisonous. If you eat one you will die. Who is brave enough to grab a handful and munch away?

He is correct in as much as there is no perfect way to check every refugee to ensure he or she is a peace loving person who wishes us no harm. People who wish to kill us are going to slip through and innocent Americans will die as a result. We are much safer as a nation if we do not allow any refugees into our country.

It is easy to hate a group of people when you don’t have to look at the person. Instead of Skittles imagine one hundred starving children. These children will die if you do not come to their aid and give them food to live on. One of those children will grow up to be an Adolf Hitler and be responsible for the death of tens of millions of people. Do you allow one hundred children to starve to death in order to save the tens of millions?

A leader of a country has to put the good of the country as first priority. The people have to be protected. The needs of the many out weight the needs of the few or the one. We must do whatever is necessary to protect the tens of the millions from the one. This argument sounds as logically sound as the bowl of Skittles argument and it is just as wrong.

It is never just or acceptable to use an evil act to stop an evil act. The good intent does not negate the evil of the act. For a Christian who honestly follows the teachings of Jesus it is never permissible to allow the ninety-nine to die to prevent the one from doing evil. It isn’t even permissible to allow the one to die to stop the one from doing future evil.

Jesus gave us the corporal works of mercy. As his disciples, we have been told to feed the poor, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned, and bury the dead. Jesus did not say to do these things only for those who wish you well. Jesus said to do these things for all in need, friend and enemy alike.

                Whatever you have done for the least of these you have done for me.” – Matthew 25:45

Do you think Jesus will be accepting of the excuse that we did not provide for the refugees in their time of need simply because there were men with evil intent among them? Would Jesus have eaten the poisoned skittle? A quick glance at a crucifix gives us the definitive answer.

                If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” – Matthew 16:24

If we are true followers of Jesus we have to be willing to eat the poisoned skittle as well. We have to care for all those in need regardless of the intent in their hearts or the actions they have done. If we are to be a moral and just nation, we must recognize the importance and dignity of the individual. A society begins with the individual, not a group. Even a mass murderer has dignity that must be respected.

Jesus prayed for his persecutors and told us to do likewise. He told us to care for all life. Christians throughout this land have a mandate to care for those in need, including our enemies hiding among the innocent or posing as refugees. We have the duty to care for those in need outside of our borders and have been given the means to do so.  If we fail in this mission we will receive justice instead of mercy when we stand accountable before the throne of the Lord.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Do not go gently into that good night.

I sat watching the bonfire with my family. As my children were busily roasting marshmallows my mind began to wonder. A pop in the fire sent embers flying into the night sky. As I watched them rise on the breeze my inner voice spoke up.

“Do you get the point?” came the question in my mind.

“No, Lord,” my thoughts replied. “If you have a point to make please use a sledge hammer as I am quite dense.”


Darkness cannot exist where there is light for the light overcomes the dark. In God we have perfect light. When we reside in God we reside in a place where darkness cannot be. Darkness cannot overcome the light, it retreats from it. Darkness can only exist where once there was light if light fails to shine.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28: 19 – 20

Another pop; more embers sent skyward.

“Do you get the point?”

As Christians we are like the embers of a fire. We have been sent forth to take the light into the darkness. Even the darkest night gives way to the faintest ember. Every ember has the ability to start a new fire if it finds its way to a favorable location, a location ready to burn. A single ember, burning hot enough, has the ability of setting the world on fire.

No ember burns brighter than the fire that created it. Although thousands of embers are sent skyward, few produce other fires. This does not stop the fire from making embers. Nor does it stop the embers from burning brightly in the darkness.

Likewise, we will not be able to bring every person we meet to a saving knowledge of Jesus. That should not deter us from burning brightly with the love of God. We are called to be the embers in the night. We are called to leave the fire and bring light into the darkness. When we find that we are no longer burning brightly we can return to the fire and be filled with new life.

Go forth little ember. Burn defiantly in the night giving evidence that the fire still blazes and the light has not left this world.