Coming from an Evangelical Christian background I grew up having a deep respect for the Bible. After being a follower of Jesus for almost 40 years I have come to the conclusion that we as Christians in this country either take the words of Jesus seriously or we become atheists. I cannot stomach a Christian faith that teaches me to love God, but turn my neighbor away if he or she is an atheist, Muslim, Gay or a Syrian refugee.
I want a Christianity that is real. I want a living faith I can sink my teeth into. Many of my Evangelical brothers and sisters are putting their lives, resources, and reputations on the line as they serve the marginalized and hurting of this world. Their love knows no borders nor do they discriminate as they serve unconditionally. There are others, however, who seem to have forgotten what Jesus said about loving our neighbor, helping the suffering and stranger among us and those desperately trying to survive on the margins of of our society and in war zones around the world. Our Lord said:
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I WAS A STRANGER, AND YOU INVITED ME INTO YOUR HOME. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited.
No Christian who claims to be a follower of Jesus can get around these words. They are either true or they are not. What we do with Jesus command determines whether or not we are his followers.
The Politics of Jesus
I have been studying the Bible all my life. I have a bachelors degree in Pastoral Studies and Philosophy, a Masters of Divinity, and an earned doctorate that I completed in 2013. I was an Evangelical minister for 18 years. I am familiar with this wonderful book called the Bible. As an Evangelical I was taught that the Bible was to be read through the centrality of Christ’s teaching, but as I look at the political landscape of Christians both on the Right and the Left I am convinced that if Jesus ran for public office and declared his domestic and foreign policies we would destroy him in the media as a dreamer and idealist. We would probably declare that his message is not relevant to American life today.
Jesus made it clear as to what he believed was the most important central truth of the entire Bible. He said that we must love the Lord our God with all our being, love our neighbor as ourselves, treat other people the way we want to be treated and if we find an enemy we should try to turn him into a friend. There is no way around this. I believe Jesus message applies even if my neighbor is an atheist, Muslim, Gay, or a Syrian refugee who needs a home and a sanctuary. We just cannot get around the politics of Jesus. The Mennonites have been saying this for 500 years.
Applying Jesus Message To The Syrian Crisis
So what do with do with the 4 million Syrian refugees fleeing for their lives from ISIS, president Assad and now the Russians? My friend Lynne Hybels, a leading Evangelical humanitarian, peacemaker and human rights activist has written an outstanding article on how Christians and other concerned human beings can follow Jesus by helping our desperate brothers and sisters whose lives have been destroyed by the war in Syria. I strongly encourage you to open your hearts and minds to what she has to say and ask God how you can follow Jesus in helping these refugees in very relevant ways. Feeling Paralyzed by the Migrant Crisis in Europe? Here Are Some Practical Ways You Can Help. — Lynne Hybels