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Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

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“…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’”

Matthew 25: 35-36

On Friday, the president signed an executive order banning the citizens of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Iran, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States for at least the next 90 days. He has stopped the admission of all refugees for the next four months.  And he has suspended the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely.

If you consider yourself to be a follower of the teachings of Jesus, you should be appauled.

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” That is what Jesus calls us to do – welcome strangers.  And he does not tell us that we can pick and choose our strangers.  Jesus doesn’t say, “Welcome rich, white strangers who wear Gucci, and don’t worry about the rest.”  He tells us to welcome all strangers.

I’ve lived in the Middle East, and I have had the opportunity to get to know people from some of these “banned” countries. I can tell you this: People are the same all over the world.  We may worship differently.  We may eat different foods.  We may wear different clothing.  But our fundamental values are the same.

Mothers and fathers all over the world want their children to be happy and safe. We all want to live in places that are free of violence.  And we all want to be able to enjoy beauty, whether it be in art, literature or music.  The things we share outweigh our differences.

Jesus understood this. That is why he mandated us to serve each other, regardless of race or religion.  And today, Jesus would tell us that it is our duty to welcome refugees.

I understand the fear of terrorism. However, the sad reality is that violent, deranged people are everywhere.  Just ask the parents of the children who died at Sandy Hook elementary school or the families of the victims of the Charleston church massacre.  Denying refugees entry into the U.S. does not solve our violence problem.

Admittedly, the teachings of Jesus are not always easy or comfortable. They demand that we put away our prejudices and serve humanity – not just the humans in our country.  That is a hard pill to swallow, but that is what we are called to do.

In the coming weeks, it would serve us well to meditate on John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

God loves the world – not just our small part of it.  As ambassadors of God’s love, we must remember that it is our job to serve all the people in this hurting world.

(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

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