Love Does No Wrong to a Neighbor

“Is there anything more indicative of the American moment, and perhaps America as a whole, than looking at a cage holding people and declaring, ‘this is not a cage’?” – Photo from US Customs and Border Patrol, posted on www.elle.com

God 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)

 The news was full last week of AG Jeff Sessions’ reference to Romans 13 to justify the administration’s abhorrent policy of separating children from their parents at the US/Mexican border.  If you’ve read the Bible (and honestly, even if you haven’t and you’re just a regular human being), I don’t think it’s necessary to detail how obscene this theology is.  God is quite clear throughout the arc of Scripture that we are to protect the orphan, the widow, and the immigrant.

We can ignore the fact that the US government is not a Christian government nor is it ordained by God and just go along with the administration’s statement that they are God’s agent here on earth.  We’ll play along with their farce for a little while.

As with most proof-texters, these verses from Romans 13 were ripped out of context to be misinterpreted and misused.  The administration didn’t read the entire passage (or any of the rest of Romans for that matter) to understand the context or over-arching message.  They also stopped reading somewhere in that first paragraph, not getting to our true calling of obedience as Christians (if the administration is attempting to be such).  So, if we believe that it is biblical to fulfill the law, then let us read on in Romans 13.

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. – Romans 13:8-10 (NRSV)

So, if we believe that it is biblical to fulfill the law, then let us read on in Romans 13. Click To Tweet

Love is not separating children from their parents.  Love is not caging children like animals.  Love is not withholding nurture to those in desperate need of it.  Love is not choosing to look away from a humanitarian crisis by creating a greater one.

We are doing wrong to our neighbor.

In doing so, we are not fulfilling the law.

And we are damning ourselves.

And despite the phone calls I make to my elected officials and the monetary donations I make to relief and advocacy agencies at the border, I am still part of these horrendous crimes against the vulnerable, against my neighbor because they are happening on my watch.  We are all being led into evil through this administration’s actions at our borders.  Let us confess our sins.

Lord,
who loves those whom the world would hate,
forgive our lack of love.

A spotlight shines on a terrified mother and son from Honduras as they are found in the dark near the border in McAllen, Texas. The migrants had become lost in the woods after rafting across the Rio Grande. — John Moore / Getty Images

When we claim your name to justify the evil we want to do, convict our souls.  Make our gut rot within us.

A Honduran mother breastfeeds her 2-year-old daughter while being detained.  The mother said they had traveled for a month to reach the United States. — John Moore / Getty Images

When we choose to tear others down, ignoring their humanity, make our eyes see the terror of what we are doing.  Do not allow us to turn away.

A spotlight shines on a terrified mother and son from Honduras as they are found in the dark near the border in McAllen, Texas.  The migrants had become lost in the woods after rafting across the Rio Grande.— John Moore / Getty Images

When we lift ourselves up at the expense of stealing life and hope from others, cause us to stumble in our theft.  Break us of our pride.

The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy has separated thousands of children from their parents. — John Moore / Getty Images

And when we cry out “Lord, Lord!” but do not reach out to those whose voices are silences, ignore our pleas.  Teach us what it means to be abandoned.

The girl cries as her mother is searched.  She was told to set the child down while she was searched, Moore told Foto. “The little girl immediately started crying. … I took only a few photographs and was almost overcome with emotion myself. Then very quickly, they were in the van, and I stopped to take a few deep breaths.” — John Moore / Getty Images

In the end Lord, you have given us only one command; only one thing by which we are to be known.

You have given us love.

Forgive us when we set love of others aside for love of ourselves.
Forgive us our boastings of our own strength.
Forgive us the lies we tell when we claim we have no choice.
Forgive us not because we are worthy of forgiveness but because your forgiveness leads us love.

Lord,
who loves those whom the world would hate,
forgive our lack of love.

 

Let us not pray for forgiveness without also taking action.  You can find your representatives here to speak out against this evil.  And thanks to a friend for sending me this link on how to support advocacy groups.  Let us join God in enacting justice.

Agents take a group of Central American asylum-seekers into custody. — John Moore / Getty Images

Lord, who loves those whom the world would hate, forgive our lack of love. Click To Tweet
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