Love Thy Neighbor

Refugees…there are tens of thousands of them – like right now, desperately trying to escape the grip of war. These are people – men, women, boys, girls, young, and old. They’ve been peddling along trying to live their lives as normally as possible. When all of a sudden, a bunch of extremists get together and decide it’s time for a new genocide. #refugees #hereticallove

In this photo provided by UNHCR officials and taken on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. Syrian refugees cross the border toward Iraq at Peshkhabour border point at Dahuk, 260 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has set up an emergency transit camp in Irbil, where around 2,000 refugees are camping out and UNHCR officials say some thousands of refugees have been streaming into northern Iraq, many coming across a newly-constructed pontoon bridge over the Tigris River at Peshkhabour. (AP Photo/HO)
(AP Photo/HO)

Refugees…there are tens of thousands of them – like right now, desperately trying to escape the grip of war. These are people – men, women, boys, girls, young, and old. They’ve been peddling along trying to live their lives as normally as possible, when all of a sudden, a bunch of extremists get together and decide it’s time for a new genocide.

We’ve seen this before, and sadly, Christians have been the cause of most – not all – of them. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, break out an Encyclopedia (or read here), and look up what happened in the Crusades, the Holocaust, heck even the extermination of Native Americans.

It’s not a pretty history for any of the culprits involved, but it’s happening again at the hands of the radicalists that are known as ISIS.

If these refugees met the stereotypical qualifications – you know: white, and European people – Americans would be singing a different tune. Unfortunately, they’re not any of those things.

These folks happen to be Muslims. Because of that, a solid portion of the American population – Christians no less – are completely resolved to letting them rot in the streets of Europe. Helping Muslims is simply out of the question.

They could be terrorists disguised as normal people! They’re all probably suicide bombers just trying to sneak in our borders to murder us in our sleep.

Right, that’s one way to avoid being a person. That’s not the only garbage excuses I’ve heard either.

Case in point, one of the many pictures I’ve seen floating around on fellow “Christian” Facebook pages in recent days:

borders

 

This kind of thinking absolutely disgusts me! It’s wrong on so many different levels. It’s incredible to hear the same people spouting off about being pro-life screaming even louder, “Death to Muslims!”

The hypocrisy and double-mindedness is thick, and it stinks! It smells like shit, and it shows the rest of the world just what they already knew about the Jesus these hypocrites represent.

The American version is a gun-toting asshole that could care less about others; especially others that believe differently than what the American church allows. Let that sink in a minute…

Can you actually see Jesus decked out in camouflage, AK-47 slung over his shoulder ready to fire at any refugee/Muslim that may try to cross a border for safety?

Nope. You can’t. That’s the answer you’re looking for. At least that’s the answer staring back at me when I look at Jesus.

Jesus never once instructed anyone to hate their neighbor. He never said to leave those in need hungry, thirsty, and without shelter. He never said to build a bigger wall around your borders to keep the less fortunate out [*ahem* Republican candidates].

Rather, Jesus was really good about loving others. Before the automatic picture of Jesus loving someone that looks like you pops in your head,

Jesus-Christ-Wallpapers
let me stop you. Instead, let me paint the picture of Jesus that is far less common.

Jesus, who spent a good portion of his time homeless, smelled. He was dirty, sweaty, and probably reeked of fish. The company that Jesus kept also replicated this. He and his disciples didn’t go to work every day inside of a mega-church preparing the weekend’s sermon, music, and video announcements for consumers/spectators that were just like them. They slept in the dirt (or mud when it rained), fished for their food, befriended prostitutes and tax collectors, and hid from the mega-church leadership (they were called Pharisees back then).

Jesus also defended the sexually promiscuous, the divorced, and even helped a Roman soldier’s daughter. Jesus, the one that was supposed to be the king to liberate the Jews from Rome’s grip, was showing love and mercy to their greatest enemy; the enemy the Jews feared and despised hated the most.

Another instance I think about is when Jesus was betrayed by Judas, and the Roman soldiers went to take Jesus into custody. Peter grabbed a sword and cut off the guard’s ear. Jesus could have easily put up a fight and possibly escaped, provided his disciples could hold them off, but he didn’t. In fact, he called Peter off and scolded him for fighting.

Then, Jesus did the unthinkable! He showed kindness and love to the arresting (now earless) soldier!

He. Was. Love. To. The. Freaking. E-N-E-M-Y! 

I know national security is important, but at the cost of likely innocent lives trying desperately to escape an enemy? I have a hard time with that. Also, it’s difficult for me to consider the refugees as our potential enemies when they’re obviously being slaughtered by ISIS.

I don’t see them looking at ISIS with a smile and a wink. I see sheer horror on their faces.

homeless-jesus

If we are truly Jesus followers, how can we possibly consider taking a stance that differs from his?

Let me help you again. We can’t.

It cannot be a part of who we claim to be, and if it is, then please quit referring to yourself as a Jesus follower when you’re not.

Love requires sacrifice. Love requires selflessness. Love requires kindness. Love will never be the wrong choice even if you get hurt in the process. Love will never be filled with regret. Loving people – even if they don’t look, think, or believe like you do – will “never fail.”

Love will sleep in the dirt, defend the persecuted, and show mercy to its greatest enemy.

Also, just because someone labels him/herself as “Muslim” doesn’t make them your enemy. That’s just another bad excuse to not be who you claim to be.

Be like Jesus – be filled with Love – show it to your neighbors around the world. Go “love thy neighbor.”

David Dietz

Author: David Dietz

Born and raised up into leadership in the American Church, David is unlearning Christianity and instead advocates for the full acceptance of others. "To love someone is to allow that person to be fully themselves without interference or expectations of change--to accept them exactly as they are. Loving someone isn't just 'accepting' who they are, however; it's giving them freedom to be a wholly distinct individual. When you love someone so deeply that you relinquish any control or ownership you *think* you have over them, you are showing that person love untainted."