Thursday, November 19, 2015

Loving Potentially Dangerous People - Part 1

Struggling with this question this morning... How do you love potentially dangerous people?

In 2015 it is Syrian refugees... In 1938 it was Jews fleeing Europe... Both groups could contain spies. Both groups would not be easily absorbed into the culture because their beliefs kept them separate. In the midst of needy people there are also a few dangerous ones. The family seeking to adopt goes and visits an orphanage and looks to see if a son or daughter is there that they can love but one or more of those children might be dangerous because of the violence they had to endure... homeless ministry has danger... prison ministry has danger.

In Joshua chapter 9 Israel took in their Trojan horse...

"But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, 'We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.' " - Joshua 9:3-6 ESV

This is what we all worry about. Who is what they seem to be? Who is safe and who is lying?

"They said to Joshua, 'We are your servants.' And Joshua said to them, 'Who are you? And where do you come from?' They said to him, 'From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the LORD your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt...' " - Joshua 9:8-9 ESV

But they weren't from far away. Who are you refugee? Who are you nicely dressed young man coming to our church... Are you here to find God or do you want to corrupt our daughters? Who are you person who wants to rent out my basement apartment... have you cheated the last three families you rented from or are you who you say you are?

"So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them." - Joshua 9:14-15 ESV

Here we see the problem. Israel didn't love with wisdom. Love is dangerous no matter how you do it. People are fallen, broken and damaged. Some need help and some need to loved from behind a locked door because their motives are evil.

We must never stop loving but we must ask God who to love and how to love. That is why Churches have wise watchful men assigned to security.

"Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body." - Hebrews 13:1-3 ESV

Fear can stop us from 'letting brotherly love continue' and we never want that to happen.

Pray, love and get involved. Be very careful and prayerful about who you let live in your basement but that room can't be vacant forever.

There is no clear cut answer in this... God must give us an answer... we can't just harden our hearts without consequences and we can't be naive either. If we are prayerfully involved there might still be hardship but there will also be great fruit.


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