Christmas: Bring on the Muslims

Christian_and_Muslim_playing_ouds_Catinas_de_Santa_Maria_by_king_Alfonso_XI wrote this for our church blog this week – thought I’d reprint it here with a few more personal thoughts.

When I was a kid a I wanted a cowboy outfit for Christmas. Later it was a 10-speed bike. Then a horse, then a Ferrari. Santa was good for 3 out of 4.

What does Jesus want this Christmas? Maybe Muslims.

I’m concerned where all this talk of refugees, Muslims, the church and politics is going. At the risk of being hated for being a bit political in a blog – off I go.

TWO FACTS TO REMEMBER

1 – Mary, Joseph, and Refugee Status: Comparing current political refugees to Mary and Joseph entering Bethlehem is a misuse of Scripture. Mary and Joseph were keeping the tax laws, not running for their lives from political oppression. However, when they ran to Egypt they were escaping Herod to protect the life of their son. At that point they were refugees, and we are all grateful Egypt took them in. So, we do have a similar issue between the holy family and today’s refugees.

2 – Church and State: The responsibilities of the State and the Church are different. The State exists to protect it’s people, and must answer to them (Romans 13). The Church exists to make followers of Christ, and we answer to Him (Matthew 28). So, the church needs to be prepared to follow Christ, regardless of what the State does.

TWO QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

1 – Should the United States close its boarders to Muslim refugees in an effort to protect its people from another act of terrorism? Answer: That’s the State’s problem.

Here’s my concern. In Matthew chapter 7 Jesus said, “do not judge others,” and then a few sentences later said we should judge people by the way they act.  In context He was teaching that we can’t accurately judge motives, as only God knows the heart, thus such judgment is left to Him. However, we can and should judge actions. I get the safety issue, and the frustration, and thankfully it’s not my call. Just remember, a government that can make laws judging Muslims because it thinks it knows what is in their hearts can do the same thing with Christians.

Some governments already do.

An additional thought for this blog: as a result of what Jesus said in Matthew 7, I can support a country stopping immigration for a time from, say, a country with which we are at war. But to try to figure out what is in a persons head is messed up. It’s like hate crime legislation – a mistake. Murder is murder – whether it was for money or hate or not liking a person’s nose. Punish the crime, not the motive. Leave that to God.

2 – Should the church open its doors to incoming refugees, provide them refuge and introduce them to Christ? Answer: Absolutely, that’s what we’re here for!

The last thing Jesus told His disciples before going to heaven was, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NLT)

God may be bringing the ends of the earth to us.

What does Jesus want this Christmas? Maybe Muslims.

Lets be ready.