Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Chaplain, A Police Officer and a Civilian Went To....

A chaplain, a police officer and a civilian went to a crime scene. While this sounds the like start of a horrible joke, it will be an analogy that will be discussed in just a minute. For the last several days ever since the attack on Paris occurred my Facebook and social media accounts have been inundated with several things. First is the profile picture of solidary from nearly all my friends. Second, there are very heated arguments, opinions, commentary and news articles that usually take one of two sides. The individual either thinks we should open our doors to refugees of any sort, or they believe we should lock our nations gates and protect our great nation. I believe both opinions are equally correct and equally wrong at the same time.
One may wonder how this can be possible, but lets return to the analogy. Imagine if you will, that a horrible crime took place. After a few moments people arrived on scene. First, you have the police officer. He arrives on scene and goes about his job. He protects, he investigates, he takes charge of the situation and analyzes if there is further danger. Eventually the chaplain arrives, probably called because of a distraught parishioner, and begins his job. He offers aid, comfort, counsel and spiritual advice about the situation. The civilian has conflicting emotions. He seeks out help, searches for answers and wrestles with the meaning of life.
Those who have taken the position of closing our borders are ones that identify with the police mentality. They take charge to protect and make sense of a horrible situation. Those who have taken the position of opening our borders are ones that identify with the chaplain. They try to help the hurting, they seek to render aid and offer comfort. As you can see there is not necessarily anything wrong with either of these positions. So let us take a minute to analyze whose job is whose.
Primarily, the government is the police officer. They are to protect.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." (Preamble, US Constitution)
Thomas Jefferson said this, "A government regulating itself by what is wise and just for the
many, uninfluenced by the local and selfish views of the few who direct their affairs, has not been seen, perhaps, on earth." If you research this quote, Jefferson believed that the United States Government viewed its position that regulates itself for the good of the many irrespective of the views of the individuals who run the country.
Stephen J. Heyman in his law article entitled, "The First Duty of Government" states that the government's first duty to its citizens is to protect them and this protection is rooted in constitutional law.

Our country ought to protect its citizens. We ought to do whatever it takes to ensure that each and every citizen is safe and sound. That when we pillow our heads at night we can sleep knowing that we will be free from harm. We ought to take every single precaution out there to ensure that people coming into this country are vetted. Here's a closer look at that process.
Secondly, the Christian is the chaplain.
They are to offer aid, comfort and the simple plan of the Gospel. The chaplain is the one who has a ministry of presence and goes to where the need is and shares his faith and the Source of his faith with others. 
Scripture is very clear on a Christ-follower's role to other people.
"For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." (Matthew 25:35, 45b)
"Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)
"Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." (Acts 10:34)
"Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." (Romans 12:13)
"Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body." (Hebrews 13:1-3)
Our country has seen its worst when bigotry, racism and fear abound. Ask the Japanese who were stuck in internment camps during World War II. ( Ask the African American who suffered through the Jim Crow laws. (Black Like Me, Griffin)
Our country has for the most part, risen above those blights on our history. Let's not go backwards.
Finally, we are all civilians
We each wrestle with our conflicting emotions, seeking out help and searching for answers. When all three positions arrive at our crime scene, each person should stick to their role. There is no greater problem on a crime scene then when no one works together and everyone does their own thing. In the same token there is no greater success then when every person does his own vital part. Results happen.
So how should we respond? Christian, let the government do the governing. Let them decide how best to do that. Let them determine if we should shut our borders, or keep them open. Let them decide how to react. I encourage Christians to take part in the democratic process our Republic affords its citizens. Please participate and be vocal, but remember first and foremost we "are citizens of heaven" and we eagerly await the return of our Savior (Philippians 3:20).
When we are vocal we should remember to make sure that our speech is full of grace and seasoned with salt. (Colossians 4:6) Sailors and Marines this is not an invitation to let your conversation be "salty." As we eagerly await the return of our King Jesus, let us be busy being Christians. Let us be busy following the tenets of the Scriptures we each hold so dear. Let us not give into bigotry as the Priest did when ignoring the stranger. Let us not give into selfishness as the Levite did. Let's stop by the roadside and help. The Good Samaritan at great personal cost to himself was willing to lay it all on the line and help those in need. The Christian should be willing to do the same.
The Gospel we preach is not an easy one. It is not a Republican one or a Democrat one. The Gospel we preach is sometimes one that is a tough pill to swallow. So Christian, it's time to take your medicine and help.