Once again, our nation is divided. Once again, Facebook arguments are escalating and media anchors are calling names. Once again people are scrambling to stand on one side or the other of an imaginary line drawn to divide the camp of the lovers from the camp of the haters. The issue this time centers around a controversial executive order the president made temporarily suspending all immigration from seven muslim-dominated countries. In response; companies, celebrities, and common people have given their opinion. Starbucks was quick to respond with a policy of their own: over the next five years, they will hire 10,000 refugees. The ride-sharing company Uber, however, was not as quick to respond, resulting in people taking screenshots of themselves deleting the Uber app and posting these photos to social media with the tag #DeleteUber. You would think Starbucks would have taken the safe road, then, but not so. Social media began surging with posts about terrorist baristas and exploding coffees, accompanied with the tag #BoycottStarbucks. Christians aren't any less divided, citing the safety of our country and its freedoms as reasons this ban is a good thing while others quote Martin Niemöller's poem describing the issues of not speaking out in Nazi Germany.
Where's the clarity in all of this? Is there a simple answer to satisfy both sides and join us together in a common mission of strengthening America and opening our doors to those seeking safety? Probably not. Here's something I do know, however. The moment we lose our empathy is the moment we cease to make a difference. I'm a pastor, not a politician, and I'm not paid nearly enough to get involved in politics. The order is made, the airports are locked down. We can argue amongst ourselves all day, but what good will it do? Instead of debating things that have already happened, let's band together and work for the future. In the Bible, God gave a compelling command to the Israelites. "But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:34). We may not be able to do much to help those stuck outside our country, but we can certainly do a lot to help those who are already here feel more welcome. Take someone who's different from you out to lunch this week. Say a few kind words to someone in the checkout line. Remember that, if you go back far enough, we were all refugees in this country at one time or another. Will I delete Uber or boycott Starbucks? Probably not. But I will strive to go out of my way to love everyone, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or political view; because after all, doesn't the One who called me do the same?
Loving like Jesus does,