I have a confession to make. I, like so many people who grew up in the South or with parents who had grown up in the South, have had issues in my life with racism.
Over the years I’ve said things, thought things, and made jokes that were racist. Before committing my life to Christ I had a real issue with this. However, over the years, I would like to think that I’ve given that up. My best friend in high school was from Chihuahua, Mexico. The best man at my wedding was a black man. Over the years one of my good friends is black and my wife’s best friend is Mexican. In other words I would like to think that I’ve progressed beyond racist ignorance.
I’m unaware of how things are in other parts of the country, but here in Texas where I live, on the morning of every trash day, we have people who drive around looking for “treasures” that they can use to either benefit their families or sell to make a little money. Most of these people who drive around looking for these “treasures” are Hispanic.
This morning was trash day. Along with our usual trash, I put out a small lighted fishbowl that belonged to my daughter. Afterwards I came upstairs and began working. Not long after I sat down I heard a loud crash and the breaking of glass and I ran to look out the window. Sure enough, standing there by our trash, was a large Hispanic woman who had broken the fishbowl and was kicking the glass with her foot. I saw her walking over to the truck and I became angry because I assumed she was going to leave.
I ran downstairs to confront her and as I headed out the front door I watched what was going on. A little old man was coming over with a dustpan and sweeping up the broken glass. Additionally, they went ahead and took the remainder of the broken lighted fishbowl with them even though it was useless and was actually now really trash.
I have to confess that the first thought of anger that flashed through my mind was something similar to “that so and so Mexican…” I became very ashamed of myself and I should’ve been. These are people who are not only providing a service, but are out in the morning working (though most of us in America don’t view collecting junk for resale as “real work”). These were also people, because of their age, who would’ve had hard time finding regular employment. Yet unlike so many people, they got up early and were driving around working. Yet my first thought when I saw them was one of contempt.
How shameful, arrogant, self-righteous, and full of pride on my part.
I have just completed the last two months reading the prophets in the Bible. That is, the books of Isaiah through Malachi. It, needless to say, was a real eye-opener. Over and over again God chastised the people of Israel for the way they were treating foreigners. It was one of the main reasons the prophets of God were giving for God’s destruction of the nation of Israel. The way they were treating aliens, strangers, and foreigners in their land that was disgusting in God’s sight.
Israel was viewing the blessing of God as a gift to them because of their faithfulness to God. However, what God was really trying to tell Israel through the prophets was that he was blessing them so they could in turn be a blessing to those that were not the chosen nation of God. Israel was to use their blessings to bless their neighbors so their neighbors would in turn see the true and living God through Israel and come to worship him.
This is exactly what I feel like I’m seeing with the “political Christianity” that’s so prevalent in America today. We think that this nation was founded by God, blessed by God, and gets it’s strength from God because of our invoking his name during the founding of this nation. However, just like God chose Israel from among men to be His blessed nation, so could He not have done the same for America?
In other words, if we are a nation that is blessed by God, it has absolutely nothing to do with our righteousness. It’s nothing more than a sovereign choice of God. And just like Israel was to use their blessings to bless those around them, their neighbors, would it not stand to reason that if America is blessed by God that we’re to do the same?
What I see going on with so much of the politics of today is us looking for ways to blame many of the problems in this country on illegal immigrants. What disturbs me more is that I see so many of us Christians aligning ourselves with the politicians that are spouting this sort of rhetoric. It doesn’t surprise me that non-Christians would look towards foreigners with a certain amount of contempt. What shocks me, however, are the people who have spent their entire life searching the Scriptures of God, looking at the sovereignty of God and how he chooses us to be his special people when we don’t deserve it. How he gave his only son to us when we were enemies to Him and how every breath we take is a gift from God. We are nothing without Him. How these same people are the ones aligning themselves behind the politicians who are screaming against immigration the loudest.
How dare us, as Christians knowing the grace that God has given us in spite of our arrogance and pride, look upon another with such contempt?
When we see these illegal immigrants coming across the border and we begin to fear for our jobs, safety, and our way of life, who is it we’re really looking towards to protect us? Is it God? Or is it the President of the United States? I mean after all, do we trust God to feed us, protect us, and place us where we need to be to accomplish that which he has called us for? Or do we think that it’s every man for himself and we need to protect ourselves?
When we begin to look for things outside of God to be our provider and when we begin to put our trust in the rule of law rather than the sovereignty of God we have now created a big golden calf. And when we, as proud citizens, begin to rally around that “golden calf” waving our flag and telling the illegals to get back across the border, we’ve become totally oblivious as to the reasons God has blessed this nation and blessed each and every one of us as individuals.
Instead, as Christians, we ought to be looking toward this influx of foreigners as a God-given gift allowing us to share with these people the grace of God. When we truly die to ourselves and realize that our home, our money, the cleanliness of our neighborhoods, our jobs, and our culture don’t belong to us but belong to the One who paid the ultimate price for us, we won’t be so quick to rally around the anti-immigration rhetoric of today.
I call each and every one of us, as Christians, to look inwardly toward ourselves. To compare our thoughts that we have toward others such as immigrants, and see whether they really line up with the word of God. I call each and every one of us to lay aside our national pride and realize that as Christians, we’re citizens of heaven first and citizens of the United States second. In other words, God’s ways take priority over our national pride.
Remember when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandments were? It was to love God with all of our heart, mind, strength, and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we’re quick to jump on the bandwagon and drive around rounding up everyone with brown skin so we can run them back across the border are we really loving our neighbor as ourselves?