|Chief among sinners?|
Yesterday, Bryan Fischer posted a blog about how American indians disqualified themselves from any claim to land in America by their sexual immorality and violence. I want to officially reject and distance myself from that viewpoint.
Mr. Fischer points out that in the Bible God tells the nation of Israel to completely wipe out the Canaanites. He seems to use this instance to legitimize the mistreatment of Native Americans by European nations and the United States of America.
But there is a difference. God specifically told His people to carry out his judgment. No such command existed for the Europeans or Americans to kill the indians. And I'll admit that even the biblical command is a little hard for me to understand.
Furthermore, Bryan Fischer in the past, when challenged on biblical commands to smite the enemy, has refused to answer, stating that a question like that about the Old Testament should be answered by a Jewish scholar. The sudden decision to embrace God's command to destroy the Canaanites when in the past he's avoided it is interesting to me.
Another point Bryan Fischer offers up as a reason for the indians' expulsion from their lands is their spiritual belief in something other than Jesus. There are many groups throughout history, and even today, who reject Jesus and the influence of Christians. However, that in no way gives Christians the authority to take their land, kill them, break our treaties, and force them to live where no one else wants.
I know that it's unfair to look back on history with our 21st century prejudices. But I also know it's wrong to attempt to justify unjust actions that took place in this nation's history.
I was reading through Matthew 6 recently. As I read that chapter, in which Jesus turned the commonly-held views of the day upside down, I saw yet again where Jesus said for us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us - a high calling by any standard.
I'm reminded of the Jim Elliot story. Jim was a missionary to Ecuador in the 1950's. He decided that he wanted to reach the Waodoni tribe with the gospel, so Jim teamed up with four other men to start a ministry to this tribe. Before meeting with the Waodonis, the men made contact with the tribe several times from an airplane, using a loudspeaker and a lowered basket filled with gifts.
Eventually Jim Elliot and the other missionaries decided it was time to meet with a group of the Waodonis. They flew in to the Waodoni territory, landed on the river, and set up camp. What happened next was violent and wrong. The Waodonis came and murdered the five missionaries. The missionaries had guns with them, but had made the determination not to use them in self-defense, because they knew they would go to heaven if they died, but the Waodonis wouldn't if they were shot by the missionaries.
Several years later, Jim Elliot's wife, Elizabeth, went to the tribe that had killed her husband. She shared the love of Jesus with the same men who had killed her husband and his companions. Because of the Jim Elliot's martyrdom and Elizabeth Elliot's forgiveness, the love of Jesus was shared with the whole tribe.
Now, after the five missionaries had been killed, would it have been right for Christians to wipe out the Waodonis? Well, by Bryan Fischer's standards, apparently so. But I don't think that's what Jesus would do. Elizabeth Elliot modeled Jesus' love by forgiving and actively loving the very same people who had killed her husband.
As Christians we are called to something better. We are called to live beyond what we want to do. Instead, doing what Jesus wants us to do.
Since, as Bryan Fischer points out, the United States of America is immoral, using his standards we deserve to be destroyed. Does that mean we should helping one of our nation's enemies to bring judgment? Absolutely not. Our mission as Christians is to love.
We aren't here to bring or justify judgment; that's God's job. Our duty is to love people, to help others, and to share the gospel of Jesus with everyone around us.
Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it. - MLK