Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jesus's Example and Immigrant Children

What a problem we have with so many children here in the U.S. illegally! What do we do? Everyone seems to have an opinion. Good people cannot seem to agree. Yes, we have a problem at the border, but isn’t that a different issue? What do we do with the children who are already here and need good, safe, and caring places to stay?

What did Jesus do that casts light on the issue? 

I have been immersed in stories of the Bible because I am headed to Kenya to teach a group of women how to share God’s Word by telling the stories. For the past couple of years I have often used stories, telling them by heart and allowing God to use them to grow others as he applies the lessons to their hearts.

As I was working on the story below, I was struck by the way it answers questions many are asking about helping those who broke the law. See what you think.
A woman who had suffered a condition of hemorrhaging for twelve years–– a long succession of physicians had treated her, and treated her badly, taking all her money and leaving her worse off than before–– had heard about Jesus. She slipped in from behind and touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, "If I can put a finger on his robe, I can get well." The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up. She could feel the change and knew her plague was over and done with.  
At the same moment, Jesus felt energy discharging from him. He turned around to the crowd and asked, "Who touched my robe?” 

His disciples said, "What are you talking about? With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you're asking, 'Who touched me?' Dozens have touched you!”  
But he went on asking, looking around to see who had done it. The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before him, and gave him the whole story. 
Jesus said to her, "Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you're healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague,” (Mark 5:25-43).

Although there is no record of any Pharisees being there, based on other Gospel accounts I can only imagine their comments if they had been: “She broke the Law by touching him when she was unclean.” “She doesn’t deserve to be healed when she broke the Law to do it.” “Jesus should have scolded her for making everyone she touched unclean instead of embracing her as a daughter.” Rather than compassion for a hurting woman, I suspect they would have focused on her illegal actions and criticized Jesus. But Jesus extended mercy and grace, calling her daughter and blessing her.

Other words from Jesus come to mind as I try to understand his will on this issue:

“. . . love your neighbor as yourself,” (Matt. 22:39)
“As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them,” (Luke 6:31).
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,” (Luke 6:36).
“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to    me,” (Matt. 25:40).

I wonder what I would do if I had children in the kinds of danger these children are? If I were desperate to help them and protect them, would I break a law? What did Moses’s mother do? If I apply the Golden Rule, I have to imagine myself in their situations not mine. When I allow myself to feel their pain, it is difficult to turn away and ignore them. Who will care for them with the love of God if we refuse to take them into our cities and counties? 

Those who want us to be a nation under God must show what that looks like. Our first loyalty isn’t to a certain party but to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. What would he do?

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