SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) -- As a former Texan, my heart goes to the border of Texas. As a born-again Christian, the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls me to compassionate action for those who are suffering right now as a result of the immigration crisis, especially the children.
Due to the gigantic nature of this entire issue, most of us become paralyzed or even intimidated by it. By no means do I imagine myself as an authority on this very complex issue, but as one American and Christian leader, I must respond.
As the medical community would sort through the issues as they treat multiple people in a triage unit, we may need to do the same here. In a triage unit, whatever can be done to result in the most survivors is done.
This is an emergency situation that requires the best of each of us in America.
As Christians, what should we do? I humbly suggest the following:
Love the immigrant
The Gospel of Jesus Christ moves me to call on all of us to demonstrate compassionate action toward the immigrant. In this humanitarian crisis on the border of Texas, the children need immediate attention that elevates their health and safety above all. From my point of view, the children must become our number one priority.These children are someone's children and someone's grandchildren. They are people, real people. Their parents, along with other children who are crossing our unprotected borders, are trying to better their lives and futures.
Yes, they should respect the rule of law, but now that they are here, we need to respect the God-given dignity of each of them.
I love all people. We are called upon by the Lord to extend compassionate action toward all people, pointing them to the one true hope for their lives: a personal relationship and fellowship with Jesus Christ. He alone is the greatest hope we can provide them.
Their long-term future in our nation is a political issue. Therefore, our elected leaders must deal with this issue now.
Fix the immigration system
It is more than obvious that our immigration system is not working. Otherwise, we would not be where we are today. Immigration is a political issue and it needs to be addressed by our nation seriously and immediately. This is not in our hands, but in the hands of our elected leaders.
Yes, they have to address serious questions that do not have easy answers. Justice and fairness in relationship to the law has to be considered along with compassion and mercy. Yet, we need them to step up on behalf of our nation and lead toward a solution.
It is past time that the elected leaders in our nation fix the immigration system. I was reminded early this morning while reading the Old Testament book of Amos that our leaders need to follow the principle discovered in Amos 3:3, "Can two walk together without agreeing to meet?"
I pray for our leaders daily. My prayer today has been, "Lord, please move upon these leaders to meet in a room together, resolving that they will not come out until they walk in agreement on this issue." Simplistic I know, but God can do with people what people cannot do on their own.
We must pray for our nation at this time and for our leaders to come together and resolve this issue, both short-term and long-term. The lives of people are at stake. The security of our nation is at stake. If you believe in prayer, please pray.
As Christ-followers, we need to follow the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 25:35:
For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
Then, when they questioned Jesus, since they had never seen Him in that condition, He responded to them, as recorded in Matthew 25:40:
Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we must extend compassionate action to all people, pointing them to the hope found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yours for the Great Commission, Ronnie W. Floyd
Ronnie W. Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of the multi-campus Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.