I was recently contacted by a Reuters reporter who assumed that, because I am an evangelical pastoring in the midwest, I would agree with a new evangelical political initiative attempting to broker a deal between the liberals and conservatives – a “moral” way to handle the powder keg of America’s Trojan Horse called illegal immigration. It was described by the reporter as the “I was a stranger and you took me in” initiative. The “I was a stranger …” initiative takes its mantra from the famous text of Matthew 25:35, quoting the authoritative words of Jesus Christ. My response to Reuters News was probably not what they expected.
There is a great deal of accelerated emotions involved in this particular debate, which are not necessarily helpful when addressing an issue of legality, crime, and moral prosecution. The knee-jerk reaction of well-intended souls, who operate almost exclusively in an environment of church government (where the art of human reconciliation is the ultimate driving objective and communication skills are paramount), does not translate very well in a sphere of civil government (where the art of retribution is the ultimate driving objective in order to administer proper justice through punishments). Reconciliatory thinkers are wonderful, valuable, precious people. They are capable of literally “saving the whole world” with what is often promoted to be “good news”. They want to give everyone a sincere and loving hug, but please understand they are quite possibly the most dangerous people on earth when errantly put in charge of a maximum-security prison system (or anything that has to do with crime and punishment – law-making – or becoming the next American President).
In contrast with reconciliatory thinkers, retributive thinkers are wonderful, valuable, precious people, too. They are literally capable of “protecting the world” with what is often misconstrued as “bad news”. Alas, their “Go to jail!” command is very necessary and valuable to society. They can also be the very most disastrous people on earth if they are mistakenly asked to develop a curriculum for training airline stewardesses, concierge etiquette, or running the help-desk at the Department of Transportation licensing bureau…but I digress.
It is my charge that the “I was a stranger and you took me in” initiative is an aberrant attempt of reconciliatory thinkers to solve a criminal problem they seem uniquely unqualified to solve. Are they sincere? Yes. Are they compassionate and well-meaning? I have no doubt. Are they noble and reputable church-leaders in their own right? Sure. Is their premise built upon sound biblical doctrine anchored by divine authority? ABSOLUTELY NOT. They are misguided – in layers.
Here’s the link to what is clearly a misleading commercial provided to me by the interviewing reporter. Once you have viewed this commercial and have seen the reading of a Bible passage by various ministers from many backgrounds known and unknown, you will be better equipped to consider what follows in this writing. My thoughts are based upon what I was able to sleuth out about the group, beginning with the most obvious problem – their inappropriate and misleading use of the passage being read when applied to the subject of crime (more on that in a moment).
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