Dear Christians of America: Stand the Hell Up for the Oppressed

The news channels are screaming.

Screaming louder then the plague of terror, turning ears.

Echoing hearts filled with fears.

They want to shut their doors now, the mouthpieces say.

Half the states in all now, more probably on the way.

It's too dangerous, these governors say, to let these war-ravaged people into our midst, when any one of them could be a terrorist. Neither the president nor any other official could guarantee our safety.


They spout these statements in their clean, three-piece suits, standing in offices adorned in mahogany, after which they will probably enjoy a nice, expensive lunch with constituents.

And the American people, watching the news coverage from within the walls of their own homes, many being at least a thousand square feet in spaciousness, are beginning to rally alongside. Because the very essence of the American life exudes comfort. It expects safety. Preposterous is the notion of not having access to clean water, a complete wardrobe, and not only the food one needs to get through the day but such an availability and variety as to meet most wants, as well.

It's easy, when life is so cushy, to sit on our couch, look at all the evil in the world and say, we don't want that here. It would mess up the nice little thing we have going on here.

“The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism; they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife,” Mr. Obama said. He added: “We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.” {Source}

Oh, but unfortunately we do, Mr. Obama. Twenty-six states and counting.

It's easy to see issues on the other side of the world, even on the other side of town, as not our issue. But by the very nature of our inaction, we are complicit in the evil simply because we did not make any effort to help.


Evil runs rampant because we let it. The hearts of those around the world form the soil in which injustice thrives.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” {Luke 4:18-19 NIV}

And in the face of glaring atrocities, we can easily forget the heart of our God. We can forget his mission and purpose, not just for Americans, but for everyone.

I, for one, will throw my lot in with the lost. With the prisoners, and with the oppressed. Because God never called us to be comfortable. He never called us to be safe. In fact, He called us to pick up our cross and follow Him. The cross is an instrument of torture, a method of execution. By very nature, it's a march unto death, whether that be physical, to the self, or otherwise.

And you know what? We're not actually all that safe NOW, in case you hadn't noticed...

~Gun violence is at an all-time high:
  • 294 – The number of mass shootings (defined as when four or more people were injured or killed by a gun) in 2015.
  • 45—The number of school shootings there have been in 2015.
  • 7—The number of children and teens who die every day, on average, from gun violence (Five are murdered and two kill themselves).
  • 20- The number of times higher the homicide rate by guns is for Americans, compared to those who live in other developed countries. {Source}
~Every 9 seconds in the US, a woman is assaulted or beaten.

~On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.

~1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime. {Source}

~The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. {Source}

~The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-year-old. Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children. {Source}

We can't legislate or ban the evil and terror, my friends--it's already here.

But it's over there, too.

And now, out of fear, the same people who stood heartbroken over the body of a little boy washed ashore just a couple short months ago are now rallying together in protest to shut our doors to the rest of the little boys just like that one. And their mothers. And sisters and brothers. 

Is your God not big enough to keep you safe? Or is the real issue here that you just don't trust Him to do so?
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. 
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” {Matthew 5:43-48, MSG}

God calls us to love our enemies. Period. Not just when it's convenient. Not just when our safety is guaranteed by federal officials. There are no guarantees in this life, except for the fact that there will be trouble. But Jesus says to take heart, for He has overcome the world. {John 16:33}

“If you have a handful of people who don’t mind dying, they can kill a lot of people,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s one of the challenges of terrorism. It’s not their sophistication or the particular weaponry that they possess. But it is the ideology they carry with them and their willingness to die.{Source}

Their ideology. Their willingness to die. Just a handful of them with devotion to their belief unto death.

A group of committed people have the power to change the world, to strike fear into the hearts of every person in every nation. They've shown us the breadth of their reach.

But I know Someone who can reach further. I know Someone who can reach deeper and wider then they ever could--even into the very heart of man--and He, well, He has already won.

So I'd like to propose something radical: What if we used their own tactics against them, just in reverse?

I seem to recall stories of a small band of disciples, about twelve in all, who were so committed to sharing and spreading the Good News, regardless of the cost, that you and I have unfettered access to that very same Gospel to this day.

So what if we actually started to live like the Christians we claim to be?

What if we picked up our cross, laid down our lives, and followed Him?? What if, by His Spirit and Grace, we prayed for our enemies? 

What if we loved these displaced people? Really loved them? In a way that cost us. A love that put the needs of others above our own, even when it hurts. Even when it's uncomfortable and it requires us to go without.

What if we invited strangers into our land, these displaced refugees, and offered to provide for some of their basic needs? What if we sacrificed our comforts, our abundance, so that others may simply survive? So that they may have a small taste of the freedom and safety we have grown so accustomed to?

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ {Matthew 25:35-40}

Heaven help us.

May we not shut our doors to those in desperate, life-threatening need.

May we not ignore the cries of the oppressed, shut our ears to the sounds of their screams, close our eyes, refusing to look, as thousands perish in the sea. Oh, what the depths of those deep blue waters would tell if they could sing. The horrors and death they have seen.

May we not be so idly blinded by our comforts and ease that we do not see He's called us for such a time as these.

Because a small group of committed people can send a ripple effect out into the world.

**For some information on organizations helping Syrian refugees, click here.