‘Walk in wisdom toward outsiders’

Published 8:27 pm Friday, December 18, 2015

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

I wrote in last week’s column about the religious liberty that is under attack in our country. I mentioned that if we were to bar all Muslims from entering our country, then the religious liberties of all of us would be jeopardized even more than they already are. That is absolutely the case. To refuse all entry into our country based on religion would make it far more difficult to defend the religious liberties of Christians — liberties that some in our country already want to take away.

But there is even more at stake. As Christians, we must always be mindful that our mission is to help Muslims and all those who do not know the love of our Savior to experience the abundant and eternal life that is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. How can we tell them of our Savior’s love if they sense that we don’t love them? Therefore, as Christians, we must always be careful with the kind of language we use. As Colossians 4:5-6a says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious.”

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Of course, we should be incredibly careful about the people we allow into our country. In a world like ours, we must do all that we can to secure our borders and exhaustively research the background of every person who wants to come in, as well as take the gloves off and stop every potential terrorist who is already here. This is the government’s job. Obviously, our government is not doing a very good job in that regard. The female San Bernardino terrorists should never have been allowed into our nation, and there were also warning signs from her husband, an American citizen, that should have been spotted. To have not checked their social media accounts because of “sensitivity” is an outrage. For one of their neighbors to have not gone to authorities due to fear of being accused of “profiling” is likewise an outrage, and shows how seven years of the Obama administration has produced an oppressive atmosphere of political correctness and lax security for our citizens.

And if people weren’t already scared, our President sat down this week for an interview and once again tried to justify his release of the terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay. He admitted that a “handful” may be “embittered” and go back to a life of terrorism. I have three things to say about that, Mr. President: First, their bitterness does not come from the United States, but from their own ideology of hate. Second, it only takes one to kill a bunch of innocent people. What could a handful do? Third, it is not just a handful. Hundreds that you let go are now once again making jihad on innocent people around the world.

All this has produced a strong fear in Americans. Here is good news for you: Ultimately, our security never rests with a government, but with God. As the angel said to the shepherds one night outside of Bethlehem, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

Thurman Hayes is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.