On Failing to Love Our Neighbor

Today, I end my charitable donations to Samaritan’s Purse. The great work done they have done abroad cannot undo an unforgettable display of xenophobia put on by Franklin Graham. The money will go instead to World Relief, an organization that is not so easily swayed by fear. Samaritan’s purse has in the past taken a very strong stance on helping Syrian refugees, but apparently that only applied when the refugees were seeking refuge somewhere besides America.
‘Franklin Graham, the president of the evangelical relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, defended the decision [Trump’s Executive Order].
“It’s not a biblical command for the country to let everyone in who wants to come, that’s not a Bible issue,” he told the Huffington Post. “We want to love people, we want to be kind to people, we want to be considerate, but… there are laws that relate to immigration and I think we should follow those laws. Because of the dangers we see today in this world, we need to be very careful.”’–From Christianity Today.
Graham had the gall to put that quote out while Samaritan’s Purse sported a banner on their home page that, of all things, called for aid to the Iraqi refugees of Mosul:
I feel utterly betrayed because I had assumed, until I looked up this article, that Samaritan’s Purse would have taken exactly the opposite stance (I’d be forgiven for thinking that based on the above misleading home page banner).
Last time I checked, self preservation was not a priority for Christ.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son [to die], that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
And self preservation is not on the menu if you choose to follow Christ either.
Matthew 10:39 – Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it.
Matthew 16:25 – For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it.
Mark 8:35 – For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will save it.
Luke 9:24 – For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it, but if you lose your life for my sake, you will save it.
John 12:25 –  Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for life eternal.
Hebrews 13:1-3 – Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Mark 12:28-34 – One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
And don’t bother telling me that Jesus meant “self-preservation” when he said Christians should be as cunning as serpents (Matthew 10:16-22). Christ was prophesying about the religious persecution His followers would face and the way that false teachers and false fellow believers from among their midst would attempt to lead them astray and ultimately betray them even unto death. Even knowing all of that, Christ sent His followers INTO the fray, to face persecution and death. When He called His followers to be cunning, Christ was telling them to be aware of false teachers. Kind of like the false teaching that Franklin Graham just served up.
From the classic KJV:
Matthew 10:16-22
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
All Bible quotes courtesy of BibleGateway.com
P.S. It is surprisingly IMPOSSIBLE to stop a monthly charitable donation to Samaritan’s Purse.  There is no self-service way to manage donations.

3 thoughts on “On Failing to Love Our Neighbor

  1. The ignorance and lack of understanding of the writers position is astounding. It demonstrates an inch depth of insight as to exactly what the substance of the executive order is and attempts to use scripture to justify the left’s freakout over anything Trump related. Where were these protesters when Obama issued a similar timeout executive order a few years ago? Political discord is causing division among the body of Christ such that we are losing focus on the Gospel of salvation, our only lifeline and clear lens through these turbulent times. Space doesn’t permit a more thorough response to the author of this letter beyond exhorting the writer to perhaps get their news and information from something beyond NPR and CNN, add in a better foundation on history, politics and economics and then maybe attempt a more thoughtful analysis than the sophistry above. Most of all: keep your heart and mind on Jesus and his good news of salvation rather than being an ill informed social justice warrior.

    1. Hi Bill – Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. If you would care to explicitly state the pieces of the Trump order that are similar to Obama’s order, and generally provide some actual facts and Bible verses to support your position (as I have done in my post) I will be happy to read them. Since you fail to cite a single article, news story, written law, or Bible verse in your response, I would venture to say that one of us is ill-informed and it’s not me. Christ warned against false teachers that would distort his teachings to progress a political agenda of persecution and fear. Matthew 10:16-22.

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