1 John: 5-10…Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness…“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”
Americans have three or four of everything. Even most of our poorest citizens are wealthy compared to a large portion of the world. Cups overflowing? You bet. My own home is a 2 story building with closets and drawers all over. There isn’t a single spot to store anything else. Every drawer and every closet filled with stuff. 90% of which my family will never touch again. We make regular sweeps of clothes, toys, furniture and other items, and give them away to charity, and still…the cup overflows. Most Americans live this way even if they don’t realize it.
I was watching an old Billy Graham Crusade from Tacoma, WA in 1983. Within it Billy had this to say about America’s waste: “You could take our garbage in America and feed a great deal of the world. We’re all getting too fat. We’re trying to stop eating and they’re trying to start.” That was in 1983. It’s only become worse 33 years later. In 2016, even our pets live better than most human beings on earth. My dog has a healthcare plan. He literally has better coverage than I do. He eats $50 bags of the best dog food. The one with the buffalo on it. We’ve lost our minds.
We’re sinful not only in our excess and waste, but we’ve also become dismissive and blind to the suffering all around us. In another devotion on this site, “Jesus is the First Responder,” I told of my experience in a Target story where a little girl was lost from her mother and sobbing. I witnessed (2) moms with children stroll right past that little girl without blinking an eye. Where was their instinct to notice a distraught child right beside them? I submit that we all have become blinded in this way here in America to the suffering all around us. We live in bubbles of utter delusion.
The word amnesty has been made into one of the most reviled words in America by media pundits. Day after day, week after week…people paid large sums of money to give their political opinions shout the word amnesty in the same light that we hold the word, holocaust. If you say amnesty in political circles get ready to duck. People recoil in fear first, then they are conditioned to go on the attack and tell you why it’s so horrible. Amnesty in America means the idea of pardoning the tens of millions of illegals living on our soil. No one knows the official numbers of this huge issue. Somewhere between 11-35 million living and breathing human beings are illegally in America. The people want them caught. They want them punished. And they want them thrown out. We’ve fought as a nation about this for a very long time. Meanwhile as we fight with no solution ever implemented, the border has never been more open. Living beings of God continue to pour into the deluded bubble of America. Nobody is stopping it. Apparently we will live with that, but do not dare say – Amnesty. We (as a people) have made this group of people in our minds nameless, faceless and something less than human. That’s not how God sees them.
In the same Billy Graham 1983 message speaking to a crowd mostly under 30, he was trying to impress upon them that God sees each and every one of them as an individual. To that he spoke: “The bible teaches that God loves you as an individual. You’re not just a person lost in a crowd here – You’re an individual before God. You’re standing or sitting before God as an individual. He sees you as if you’re the only person living.” He’s correct. Does the same God not see the millions of illegals in the same way? Did he not send them to our shores for his people to care for? It certainly appears that way. We walk right by them and pretend we don’t see it. Then we shout for their removal. They might take our stuff. The trouble is…God keeps sending more. If we are indeed the people walking in the light and truth John writes of in today’s scripture, how are we to justify our actions? The word amnesty is defined – Forgiveness without penalty. Does this concept sound familiar?
This sort of thing is not a new thing to man. Since Cain and Abel man has been at odds with other men. We separate, we divide, we conquer, we oppress…we kill – all to show our own dominance, doing so completely in defiance of our creator. Speaking on his work in Civil Rights, Billy Graham said this to the young people that night about racism: “The story of the Good Samaritan is really a story about the race question. The Jewish people of that day had very little to do with the Samaritans. They were of a different ethnic background. And this is the story that Jesus tells directly to teach who our neighbors are. Our neighbors are people of a different race or cultural background, and we’re to love them. When Jesus went back to his hometown in Nazareth he was well received, until he spoke about the race problem. When he spoke about that…they tried to stone him.” – Billy Graham, Tacoma, WA Crusade 1983
Here’s a sociological experiment I’d like you try – Spend a single day on social media inserting yourself in conversations involving border control and illegal immigration. Take the pro-amnesty stance side of the conversation. Watch what happens. As I stated…duck. They will try to stone you just like they did Jesus. Keep in mind that most of the people you’ll be debating identify as Christians. They count themselves washed clean by the blood of Jesus on the cross. Their debt paid in full by grace. Amnesty. Then they will turn around and stone you for daring to bring up the same concept for fellow human beings. It will open your eyes.
I offer this devotional today not to stir up conflict or create strife. I offer it from my heart with the message….America’s power is bamboozling us. Its pundits and talking heads are doing Satan’s best work. They are teaching us to revile THE central aspect of faith that we all cling to as our one hope – Forgiveness of sins. Consider it.