Upstairs, on the third floor of our former crack home, awaits a really big and really empty, comfortably furnished attic apartment. Now that we are empty nesters, we’re deciding how best to use it.
An exchange student? A foster child? Airbnb?
But because our pastor mentioned the Holocaust this past Sunday and because these Impeachment hearings have only served to heighten the sad division in our nation and the growing hostility between people groups, we had to wonder if was time for a new conversation. We conjectured a scenario where our country reaches a boiling point where the only conclusion is the genocide of a certain people group so that we, as a nation, can truly be free. We wondered if there could ever be a time where we might want to use our attic similar to ‘The Hiding Place’, where the Ten Boom family hid Jews at the real risk of their own family’s safety. We discussed whom might the “Anne Frank” be that we would someday hide in our attic?
I have no doubt that previous to the Holocaust, all the Christian Germans who insidiously backed Hitler in the days of Ten Boom would have insisted, “That (a genocide) would never happen here. Not to us or our Christian country.”
And yet it did.
So as two people desperate to be anything but naïve, Paul and I speculated:
“Could it be we’re already close to a boiling point? I mean, we know illegal immigrants who, if discovered, will be sent back to Honduras. While most people will say they’re not actually against immigration, they just want people to come legally – what we know FOR CERTAIN is that our immigration system is so broken, a legal entry takes upwards of 20 years. During that time, while our friends would be waiting in Honduras for their legal immigration request to be processed, their American-born children will graduate from high-school, go to college, get married, have babies, get cancer, go on vacations and celebrate birthdays and holidays without them.”
Paul and I decided we’d have no problem hiding illegal immigrants up in our attic so they could stay with their families instead of being deported.
Then we talked about the LGBTQ community who feel oppressed and targeted. What if this country boiled over in hate for this particular group, blaming them for the problems of our country and insisting their elimination is the only answer? Would we be willing to hide gays, lesbians, trans, and drag queens in our attic?
Absolutely, we decided.
From there, we discussed several other groups of people that often get “lumped together” and blamed for problems in our country: blacks, whites, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, Christians, atheists, the rich, the poor, Republicans, Democrats, the NRA, the mentally ill, the homeless, druggies, Pro-life, Pro-choice, left, right, and upside down.
I’m sure you’ve heard the following comments before – and although they’re not quite as bad as they must have been in 1940’s Germany – they’re still painfully hateful and divisive (and remember, the “they” can be any of the groups I’ve mentioned as well as about a thousand others…):
- They hate America. They don’t care about you at all.
- They’re all drug-lords, rapists, and thugs.
- If only they could see how wrong they are.
- They cost so much money – they’re draining our economy.
- They only care about themselves.
- They only care about one thing and it drives all their other decisions.
- They’re everywhere – and they’re taking our jobs.
- They’re stripping our country of what matters most.
- They’re stealing my rights.
- They make me feel unsafe.
- Their beliefs are from the pit of hell.
- They’re so sure they’re right, they’d kill to protect their beliefs.
- Etc., etc., etc.
The more we hear these kinds of sentiments and the more they are repeated over and over and over, the more we are convinced they are real and true. And that’s exactly how Hitler convinced a whole country it was in their best interest to extinguish “the problem.”
So Paul and I decided, being the totally woke and cool (do woke people say “cool”?) people that we are, there is not a single people group we would refuse to stay in our attic if they were the target of a genocide.
As soon as we felt the smugness of our loving behaviors, it suddenly hit me: “But what if WE’RE on the wrong side of the equation, hon? What if WE’RE the ones being targeted for a genocide because we’re followers of Jesus and therefore we love everybody else, too??”
But Paul, in all his great wisdom, hit me with this: “Hmmmm. But in every scenario we’ve discussed, whether black and white, left or right, rich or poor, there are always two sides to the equation – meaning that in our “boiling point” scenario one side has to be right, therefore one has to be wrong.
However, in Math, an equation is one where two values are EQUAL.
Perhaps the great equalizer, the one who IS the equal sign (=), the one who MAKES all the equations, is God. And with God there are never two sides. There isn’t an in or out, left or right, good or bad, there’s just love.”
So what if we just love everybody? Will we be persecuted for that someday?
But I doubt it.
I yield back the rest of my time.