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Do not be afraid. Unless I hate you?

Do you know what “Do not be afraid” is supposed to mean to Christians?  And if you’re a “Trump” Christian, do you understand the significance of adding “unless I hate you”?  Christian or not, I’ll tell you, there’s no place in the Bible where you’ll find “unless I hate you” said in the same sentence as “do not be afraid”.  So why do some Christians insist on hating?

Do not be afraid.  Unless I hate you?Today, I’m writing about yet another case of the president that many Evangelical Christians support – hating people.  Specifically. as is often the case, immigrants.  

Do not be afraid

There are 89 places in the NIV translation of the Bible that say either “do not be afraid” or “don’t be afraid”.  With very few exceptions, they are said either by God (The Father), Jesus, an Angel of the Lord, or a person relating God’s words. 

Do not be afraid is like God’s way of saying “hi” to us.  The very first time “Do not be afraid” appears is in Abram’s vision.

God’s Covenant With Abram

Ge 15:1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward.”

Ge 15:2 But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Ge 15:4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Ge 15:6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

You may remember this passage.  It’s God making stating His covenant with Abram.  Not actually carrying it out yet.  But making the intention clear.

Do not be afraid – said first to an immigrant

The circumstances surrounding that passage are fascinating.  Especially in light of today’s topic.  Remember, Abram was first told to leave his homeland a few chapters earlier in Genesis.  Abram was, in today’s vernacular, an immigrant.  I wonder, was he “legal”?

The Call of Abram

Ge 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

Ge 12:2 “I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

Ge 12:3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

Ge 12:4 So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Ge 12:6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

Ge 12:8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

As pointed out, in a word, Abram was an “immigrant”.  Told to migrate by God.  And God told Abram, “do not be afraid”.

And then there’s Trump: immigrant – be afraid

The headline in msn news:  Trump vows mass immigration arrests, removals of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ starting next week.

President Trump said in a tweet Monday night that U.S. immigration agents are planning to make mass arrests starting “next week,” an apparent reference to a plan in preparation for months that aims to round up thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across major U.S. cities.

“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump wrote, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

Large-scale ICE enforcement operations are typically kept secret to avoid tipping off targets. In 2018, Trump and other senior officials threatened the mayor of Oakland, Calif., with criminal prosecution for alerting city residents that immigration raids were in the works.

That’s certainly letting them know – they should be afraid.  This concept was considered by the administration earlier, but was put on hold.

In April, acting ICE director Ronald Vitiello and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were ousted after they hesitated to go forward with the plan, expressing concerns about its preparation, effectiveness and the risk of public outrage from images of migrant children being taken into custody or separated from their families.

Obviously, our president doesn’t care about public outrage.  And for those of you – the conservative  Evangelical Christians who support him – that includes you.  He knows that you will continue to support him, even with this kind of activity.

But there’s more.

The family arrest plan has been considered even more sensitive than a typical operation because children are involved, and Homeland Security officials retain significant concerns that families will be inadvertently separated by the operation, especially because parents in some households have deportation orders but their children — some of whom are U.S. citizens — might not. Should adults be arrested without their children because they are at school, day care, summer camp or a friend’s house, it is possible parents could be deported while their children are left behind.

Isn’t that something?  The kids are left here while their parents are locked up and then kicked out of the country.

Tell me, Christian supporter of Trump, do you ever wonder what the Bible says about immigrants?  Do you ever wonder what Jesus thinks about this kind of action against immigrants?  And especially against children?  Do you think Jesus is proud of your standing behind a leader who does things like this?

Things The Lord hates

Are any of you aware of this passage from Proverbs?

Pr 6:16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

Pr 6:17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,

Pr 6:18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,

Pr 6:19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

OK – let’s go through those seven detestable things.  Granted, we all have these characteristics.  And I don’t mean just some of them.  I mean we all have all of them.  So I know full well that I’ve got the plank in my own eye.  However, I think it’s still worthwhile to look at them with our current president, given that so many “conservative” Christians seem to look at him with rose-colored glasses.  

Don’t worry.  Do not be afraid.  Unless I hate you.  I don’t hate you.  Yet.  But when Trump does hate you …

haughty eyes

No, I’m not going to put a picture of him here.  That’s something he would do about someone else.  Rather, let’s look at what the Hebrew word translated as haughty means.  What’s inside the person – not what might be a physical characteristic on the outside.

7311 יָרוּם, יָרַם, רוּם, רָם, רָמַם [ruwm /room/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 2133; GK 3727 and 3753 and 8123 and 8225 and 8249; 194 occurrences; AV translates as “(lift”, “hold”, “etc …) up” 63 times, “exalt” 47 times, “high” 25 times, “offer” 13 times, “give” five times, “heave” three times, “extol” three times, “lofty” three times, “take” three times, “tall” three times, “higher” twice, and translated miscellaneously 24 times. 1 to rise, rise up, be high, be lofty, be exalted. 1A (Qal). 1A1 to be high, be set on high. 1A2 to be raised, be uplifted, be exalted. 1A3 to be lifted, rise. 1B (Polel). 1B1 to raise or rear (children), cause to grow up. 1B2 to lift up, raise, exalt. 1B3 to exalt, extol. 1C (Polal) to be lifted up. 1D (Hiphil). 1D1 to raise, lift, lift up, take up, set up, erect, exalt, set on high. 1D2 to lift up (and take away), remove. 1D3 to lift off and present, contribute, offer, contribute. 1E (Hophal) to be taken off, be abolished. 1F (Hithpolel) to exalt oneself, magnify oneself. 2 (Qal) to be rotten, be wormy.  1)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Yes, Trump certainly wants to be exalted.  But remember who is to be most highly exalted.

The Suffering and Glory of the Servant

Isa 52:13 See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.

Isa 52:14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man
and his form marred beyond human likeness—

Isa 52:15 so will he sprinkle many nations,
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.

The suffering servant.  Jesus.  he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.  Ever wonder exactly what exalted means?  Here it is, again from the Hebrew word.

1361 גָּבַהּ [gabahh /gaw·bah/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 305; GK 1467; 34 occurrences; AV translates as “exalt” nine times, “… up” nine times, “haughty” five times, “higher” four times, “high” three times, “above” once, “height” once, “proud” once, and “upward” once. 1 to be high, be exalted. 1A (Qal). 1A1 to be high, lofty, tall. 1A2 to be exalted. 1A3 to be lofty. 1A3A to be lofty (of Jehovah’s ways—good sense). 1A3B to be haughty, be arrogant (bad sense). 1B (Hiphil) to make high, exalt.  2)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Did you notice, there are several things in common?  Ultimately, it comes down to this: 1A3A to be lofty (of Jehovah’s ways—good sense). 1A3B to be haughty, be arrogant (bad sense).  So there’s the question.  Is Trump lofty (of Jehovah’s ways—good sense) or is he arrogant (bad sense)?  If you think it’s the good sense, in the ways of God – may I suggest a fresh look at what’s going on?

a lying tongue

I know – all politicians lie.  So does everyone else.  maybe I should give him a pass on this one?  Or maybe we should all look at just how personal and antagonistic some of his lies are?  It’s hard to say.  

Murder

5:25, 26 pp — Lk 12:58, 59

Mt 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

Like I said.  Lies are bad.

Don’t worry.  Do not be afraid.  Unless I hate you.  I don’t hate you.  Yet.  But when Trump does hate you …

hands that shed innocent blood

Yes, innocent blood of a sort is shed even with a lie.  But since we’re talking about immigrants here, there’s also real blood.  Some of these people are trying to escape from countries where real people are literally dying.  It would be nice to say it’s “their” problem.  Those countries should deal with their own issues. 

But let’s face it – many of those issues come about because of so many people in this country that want illegal drugs from those countries.  Drug cartels pretty much run things in a lot of places.   All that money breeds corruption among the very people charged with keeping law and order.  Families are trying to get here to escape that situation.  A situation for which we are very much responsible. 

Everyone in the U.S. who uses those drugs shares responsibility for that situation.  But we don’t want the responsibility that comes with providing for the people whose lives are made miserable for our insatiable desire for illegal drugs.  

So what does our president do?  Send the people back.  Let them deal with “their own” problem.  Call them the problem.  Rather than admit that we are the problem – turn our hatred against them.  As if, how dare they try to have a better life for themselves and their kids!  Don’t they know we need our drugs, and we don’t care what the human cost is?  How inconsiderate.

How un-Christian.  Question.  Who do you think I’m saying is un-Christian?

Don’t worry.  Do not be afraid.  Unless I hate you.  I don’t hate you.  Yet.  But when Trump does hate you …

a heart that devises wicked schemes

Want to see an example of a wicked scheme?  How about the one we just read?

The family arrest plan has been considered even more sensitive than a typical operation because children are involved, and Homeland Security officials retain significant concerns that families will be inadvertently separated by the operation, especially because parents in some households have deportation orders but their children — some of whom are U.S. citizens — might not. Should adults be arrested without their children because they are at school, day care, summer camp or a friend’s house, it is possible parents could be deported while their children are left behind.

Tell me, conservative Christian – is that not wicked?  How do you feel that the man you support and helped get elected is doing this?  Why don’t you speak up?

Maybe it’s no surprise that no one asks, WWJD? anymore.  In case you’ve forgotten, or are too young to remember, that’s What Would Jesus Do.  Do you think Jesus would be telling the migrants, “Don’t be afraid”?  Do you honestly think Jesus would tell them, “Be afraid, ’cause I’m gonna get you”?

Don’t worry.  Do not be afraid.  Unless I hate you.  I don’t hate you.  Yet.  But when Trump does hate you …

feet that are quick to rush into evil

Maybe it’s not feet so much that are quick to rush  into evil.  These days, it’s thumbs.  Or maybe just one finger, if you use SWYPE.  In any case, Twitter is the method of choice for Trump.  He’ll call his minions to rally the hate.  (Apologies to the cute little characters in the movies.)  Hate is still evil, isn’t it?

Don’t worry.  Do not be afraid.  Unless I hate you.  I don’t hate you.  Yet.  But when Trump does hate you …

a false witness who pours out lies

Oh – pouring out the lies.  As opposed to just a few here and there?  Is there a point at which we should say enough is enough?  Or how about that’s just too much?  Or do we continue to ignore it?  And where does forgiveness come in?

And there’s so much hate.  How are we supposed to respond to that combination of hating lies?  Should we respond to hate with more hate?  No!

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Mt 18:21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Mt 18:22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Mt 18:23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

Mt 18:26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

Mt 18:28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

Mt 18:29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

Mt 18:30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

Mt 18:32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

Mt 18:35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

Forgiveness.  Yes, we are to forgive.  Even our president.  However, what happens when our president is like the first servant?  Continually forgiven.  And continually attacking after each forgiveness.

At what point does the president who claims that he’s the best thing to ever happen in the white house for Christians have to start acting like one?  When does it start to look like the wolf is claiming to be guarding the sheep?  Aren’t we supposed to know the shepherd’s voice?  Do we really believe this guy was sent by our Shepherd?  And if he was, what does that say about us?  It’s not good.

Don’t worry.  Do not be afraid.  Unless I hate you.  I don’t hate you.  Yet.  But when Trump does hate you …

and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers

Do I really need to say more?  That’s what this man is all about.  And now that he’s beginning the reelection process, it’s only going to get worse.  Hate, hate and more hate.  Fear, fear and more fear.  Check out Say bad things about me and I’ll destroy you for more of that thought.  It has happened before, and it will happen again.

But don’t worry.  Do not be afraid.  Unless I hate you.  I don’t hate you.  Yet.  But when Trump does hate you …

Conclusion – Do not be afraid. Unless I hate you?

So, conservative Christian, do you think I’m overreacting?  Putting too much emphasis on this?

As a good Christian, you should be familiar with this passage from the Old Testament – Hebrew Scripture.

Laws of Justice and Mercy

Ex 23:1 “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness.

Don’t lie.

Ex 23:2 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, 3 and do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit.

Don’t go along with things, just because everyone else does.  Stand up and be counted for God.

Ex 23:4 “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him. 5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help him with it.

Don’t hate people who hate you.  In fact, help people who hate you.  Even the immigrant, who doesn’t hate you – but wants to be like you.

Ex 23:6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.

Things like innocence and honesty are important.  As is standing up for the poor people – not taking advantage of them.  Like the immigrants – trying to escape the bloody mess our own drug users have made of their country.

Ex 23:8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous.

That means political bribes as well – like lobbyists who are against the people.  Or favoritism, to protect family, friends, donors, and others who have done wrong – but happen to be in high places.

Ex 23:9 “Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt.”

And last, but far from least – the aliens.  Legal or not.  The immigrants – legal or not.

Question – how many of you can say your ancestors, going back to the beginning of human history, have always lived in North America?

Actually, that’s kind of a trick question, because even the Native American who is Christian knows about the Garden of Eden – and where it was located in the Bible.

Everyone – again every single one of us – has ancestors who were immigrants.  Mine were German, going back for at least a few hundred years.  I remember my mother being all upset about the Italians moving into our neighborhood.  Oh my Gosh!  The Italians!  How awful.  Seriously.  She said that.  Even though we ate lots of Italian food.  Even though she listened to Italian opera.  Even though she likely knew people who were Italian, but she wasn’t aware of it.  Are you noticing the trend in there about her alleged hatred of all things Italian?  How it was really ignorance?  And this, even though she was, supposedly, Christian.  How sad.

Really – what are we thinking?  Or better yet – why don’t we think?  I live in an area now where people of many different nationalities all live together.  We know each other.  We even have block parties in the summer.  We watch out for each other.  I can’t even imagine living someplace as white as it was when I was a kid.  To me – that would be awful.

But don’t worry.  Do not be afraid.  Unless I hate you.  I don’t hate you.  Yet.  But when Trump does hate you …

As Christians, we should remember that God says – Do not be afraid.  Period.  And we should try to be like Him.  We should be supporting Jesus even more strongly than anyone has ever supported Trump.  And we should live a life that tells others – Do not be afraid.  

Because there, but for the grace of God, are we.

And there were our ancestors – and some of you –  when they came over here.   Or want to come over here.  Many of them hated by the ones who were already here.

As Christians, can’t we do better?  Shouldn’t we at least try?

 


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

References   [ + ]

1, 2. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

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