Confession 436: Let the Children Come Unto Me

 He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing.  That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt. Revere the Lord your God, serve him, cling to him, swear by his name alone! Deuteronomy 10:18-20 (CEB)

Jesus and children
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14 (NIV)

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I don’t engage much in politics. I believe faith in Jesus transcends our limited labels of Democrat or Republican. Politicizing our faith gives us a distorted and dishonest understanding of the nature of God and Jesus Christ. For example, consider the sanctity of life debate. One side uses Scripture to advocate the protection of life before birth. Another side uses Scripture to advocate the protection of life from capital punishment.

We get so entrenched in our political positions that we fail to see the greater and all-encompassing truth of the issue. Jesus preached sanctity of all life. So, as Christians, we should respect all life, regardless of what our political parties believe.

I am convinced that part of the church’s increasing irrelevancy is due to the fact that we are distorting God’s teaching in the name of politics on BOTH sides of the aisle. God’s truth is not in politics. Jesus understood this. Time and again he reminded his disciples that the kingdom he was building had nothing to do with man-made governments. Jesus didn’t come to Earth to depose Rome; rather, he came to Earth to depose Satan. But we are so stubborn and full of our own importance and significance that we continue to seek salvation in political ideology rather than the great theology of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our insistence on being politically right or left rather than spiritually righteous is a hindrance to our faith, and the faith of others. Politicized faith does not make disciples of Jesus Christ. Love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and changed lives makes disciples of Jesus Christ, as Jesus showed us in the Gospels.

Therefore, I cannot in good conscience remain silent while political leaders attempt to distort the truth of God’s Word to justify actions that Jesus did ever condone. I feel a bit like Isaiah with a hot coal burning inside my mouth.

The government’s position on illegal immigrant children is immoral and unjust. While I understand the complexity of legalism, I cannot believe that what is being done in the name of the law to illegal immigrants and their children is justifiable by any means. Imagine the psychological turmoil these children must be experiencing. The entire situation, from crossing the border to being separated from their parents by strangers in uniform and placed in an unfamiliar environment is absolutely traumatizing. And then to justify the practice with Scripture–with the Holy Word of God?

As Jesus followers, we should be outraged. Regardless of our political beliefs about immigration, the use of Scripture to justify detaining children is abhorrent. And, it cheapens God’s Word and makes the Gospel inaccessible to others.

Jesus said, “Let the children come unto me.” If we want to spread the Gospel, we have to stop politicizing it. Instead, we must practice the truth of God’s love as evidenced in the witness of Jesus Christ. Jesus went to the unlovable, he touched the untouchable, he embraced the sinners, he called out the religious hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders.

My friends, our faith should never be in man-made institutions. They will fail us–every time. But God, the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, reigns through eternity.

This week, let us practice love. Let us practice grace. Let us extend mercy. Let us extend compassion. And let us proclaim the Gospel message that God sent his son to offer us salvation.

Merton Quote

Blessings and Peace,