It’s All About Your Heart
I remember uttering the words, “I have no use for these people!” I was angry about the foreign men lined up on the street waiting for work. Can you imagine the arrogance? I don’t even remember why this so infuriated me, but I do remember that as the words left my mouth, the Holy Spirit spoke back to me and said, “I do.”
In that moment, though I wasn’t ready to admit it, the Holy Spirit began to renew my mind and give life to my hardened heart.
I had my reasons for feeling the way I did. After all, they come here and take our jobs! They come for all the free medical services and unemployment and the easy life. They are lazy! They are dirty! They don’t speak English! They are criminals escaping justice in their own country and coming here to prey on us! I heard most of this on “Christian radio” so it must be true!
As a young conservative in California, I believed all of these things about illegal aliens. Never mind that my own grandparents came here from Mexico back when there were few border controls and moving to the USA from Mexico was as simple as a few forms. I had no love for these people whose culture was really completely foreign to me. I was embarrassed for them and by them whose seeming lack of value for education left me irked with them for being associated with me.
As a Christian, I first cited all the usual scriptures used by those who want to keep out the foreigners. I quoted the ones about upholding the laws of the nation and respecting those in authority because God put them in office. I found all the ones that conveniently fit my perspective. At the time I didn’t really know a lot of scripture references, but those were the ones I had heard used in this context, so I used them too.
Eventually, as I started to read my Bible regularly, I started to see God’s heart in the matter.
- You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Exodus 23:9
- The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.” Exodus 12:49
- “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:34).
Then the real killer:
- “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12
Dang! These were hard for me to swallow. I wanted to find a loophole or say that it was only meant for Israel, or for that time not now, but my heart knew that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Over the years I got serious about studying my Bible. It was no longer a convenient resource for helpful quotations to support my own ideals. I began to see that I either needed to change my opinions to agree with God or acknowledge that, in my heart, I believed that I was right and God was wrong.
Years and years have gone by. This morning the Lord brought to mind the parable of the good Samaritan and related it to those year of my life when my ideas about this topic did not match up with His heart. If you don’t know the story check out Luke 10:25-37. This is what He said to me about it:
- In regard to the priest: “It’s not about your social status, it’s all about your heart.”
- In regard to the Levite; “It’s not about following the law, it’s all about your heart.“
- In regard to the despised Samaritan, “It’s not about the opinions of the crowd, it’s all about your heart.”
He whispered to me, “It’s all about your heart.”