The Self of Safety

Lies We Believe About Ourselves and Others

Day Three: The Self of Safety

A few years ago I reposted an image on my private Facebook page regarding the murder of a young woman at the hands of a man who was here illegally. The post questioned why we experience outrage at this man, demand something be done in the legislator, yet permit the in-group murdering of our own with little more than a shrug. It was a politically charged post that forced a binary that I’m not proud of. We’ll discuss the myth of easy answers during the last week of November. But the comment I got back was that we had an opportunity to do something about this murder. We could have not let someone dangerous into the country. We could have stopped the outsider and protected the insider.

Immigration, the ideology and idolatry of America first, and institutionalized racism and discussions of privilege are hot topics in today’s political landscape. The idolatry of safety preaches that we must fear the other to protect the self. If we don’t, we’ll risk our life. We’ll be forced to give up our comforts that come at the expense of someone else.

Jesus makes few things as clear as day. The love of the foreigner is one. We are to give them bread, give them a home, embrace them with open arms. The ethnic and national tensions that exist for us today are not new problems. Jesus didn’t instruct us to love the foreigner at a time and place where the foreigners were safe. Or at a time when murder didn’t hit close to home.

In Luke 10, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can read about it here. To understand the full impact of it, we have to understand some biblical history.

There was a time where wealth and power were almost solely defined by land. As we discussed yesterday, part of the leveling Israelites sought in the controlling of wealth dealt with land rites. They kept records of who owned what. The Samaritans and the Jews were no different. They frequently captured and recaptured land from each other. They hated each other’s holy sites, and disagreed on history. When they saw each other traveling, fights broke out that led to murders.

Jesus meant the Samaritans when he said we should love the foreigner like they’re one of us. He meant that if someone hated you enough to beat your skull in for walking on land that belonged to them, you still had to give them your bread and your love.

You can’t worship your safety and the Jesus of the Good Samaritan. There aren’t exceptions to the kinds of foreigners God demands our care of.


Further, the Kingdom of God is one where every nation, tribe, and tongue is represented and celebrated. The Kingdom Come does not ask for everyone to speak in the familiar tongue. It doesn’t have language restrictions. It treasures the sanctity of diversity because it refelects the nature of God. It seeks out differences because its curious about God’s creation. The Kingdom of Come cannot look at a body of a different pigmentation with anything less than awe at a creator of multitudes. It is a contrary to a system that decides, based on your zip code, how long your prison sentence is or how much you can make.

It is difficult to be a good American, or a good Indian, or a good Mexican and a good Kingdom Builder. When you make decisions that benefit your nation, you can’t afford to consider the ramifications on another. I believe few world leaders deliberately rejoice in the suffering of others. You may not, and that’s okay. Often though, intentionally or not, the benefit of one nation comes at the expense at the other. That’s being a good country-person. A loyal ally to the flag that flies above you. A good Christian seeks justice for every created person. They recognize that there is no Jew or Greek. No Gentile or Roman. One kingdom, many people. One God, many traditions. Danger is inherent in the life of a good Christian; they may be imprisoned in a foreign land because their kingdom has fallen.

Nationalism has no home in the Kingdom of God. Pride of country and tradition does, but not pride that boasts, pride that honors. Pride that boasts builds a hierarchy. It says better than. Pride that honors builds a table from the wood of its forest, and fills it with food from its kitchen, and feeds its children from the hand of its elders. It speaks in its tongue. And when it sees an outsider, it makes room at the table for a chair of foreign design. And tastes of foreign places. And sounds from somewhere else.



NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible which you can purchase below

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