Persona non grata

An unwelcome person.  There has been a lot of buzz around the world about uniting for humanity.  Yet running parallel to these cries are those people we treat as unwlecome in our midst – non-human.

Maybe you have been in this position yourself?  A victim of domestic violence or emotional abuse; a recipient of social security payments whose individual situation is lost amid the criteria of the system.

Or perhaps you were one of the Kurds before the beginning of the Syrian war?  Loosing your citizenship,  land and the right to give your child a Kurdish name.

Before we act with outrage and innocence, it happens everywhere.  In the past Maori people in NZ  could not vote, lost their land and were beaten for speaking Te Reo.

There is one certainty about treating a human being as a persona non grata.  The results aren’t great.  For the person.  And for the society they live in.  Now and in the future.

Unwelcome for too long  – abuse and labels, fustration and anger, and suffering.  And violence.

It is this aspect of humanity, ironically, ISIS or Daesh or…, take advantage of.  Whether its civil war in Syria or Iraq or Mali.  Or whether it is trying to re-inforce discord between peoples in Lebanon or Paris.  They take advantage of the vacuum of power during unrest or use peoples existing feelings of anomosity to their own end.

While the infiltration of terrorists poses a real threat, and the temptation to protect oneself at the expense of others is natural.  So much greater is the threat when we start to see others as less than human for we become and create what we despise.

Remember many didn’t welcome Jesus either.

Jesus knew His identity was best seen through God’s  eyes  not mans.  Because  He  knew  what was in the heart of  men.  Yet  still He valued  us so much  He  was willing to love us unto death.

With this came a powerful but hard message ‘forgive and love ones enemies’, refuse to treat humans as persona non grata -even the guilty.

Even until  we can mourn the suicide bombers  of Lebanon and Paris as human too; overtaken by the evil in our world.

God the one who loves  me, give me the knowledge of  the  depths of your mercy so I  may be able to receive it and offer it to others.   Forgive me where I have  been guilty of treating  another as less than  a person.

And at this time Father bestow on  your  people wisdom from above, for we do not war against flesh and blood but  the  powers and  principalities  of evil in the spiritual realm.

“3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen. “(Galatians 1:3-5)

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The Greek Crisis and Economic Morality

One is always encouraged to avoid two things in polite conversation, religion and politics.  So I am afraid this conversation is not going to be polite.

Are morality and economics as separate as secular culture claims?  Do mercy and forgiveness of debts only extend to our personal lives?  History de-cries this assumption as past examples of the forgiveness of  the financial debt of countries emerge around the web.

So do the foundations of the Christian faith where the rules for economy worked for the good of all people.  In the Old Testament there were laws for creditors and debtors.  Fair ones.  The creditors got a reasonable return for their loans, however, the borrower was left with their dignity and placed in a position where they were able to pay back the debt.

Then came the year of Jubilee every fifty years in ancient times, allowing all those in debt to have them forgiven.  Safeguarding future generations from having to inherit a burden to heavy to carry.

The idea was never to make money at the expense of others welfare – the old laws against usury are suddenly gaining more credence in my 21st Century brain.

It clearly follows into Christ talking of the Year of the Lord’s favour.  “I have come to proclaim good news for the poor, release for the captives and recovery of sight for the blind.  The year of the favour of our God.”

It is the central principle of our faith that in the forgiveness of Christ on the cross our debts, that we can never pay, were cancelled.  The law of liberty.

While there is some culpability in borrowing by previous Greek governments, there is also culpability in a finance industry using legal loopholes to offer loans they know will be potentially damaging.  Is there any concept of what is adequate and reasonable when it comes to debt repayment?

Temporary relief is in sight with a new deal.  However, the austerity conditions hardly convey an attitude of ‘loving ones neighbour as oneself’.

Here today it is not Greece who is on trial but the creditors who have created a situation where there is no foreseable end.  They are not on trial for failing to pay debt.  They are on trial to see if they will act justly in the eyes of God.

James 2:12-13English Standard Version (ESV)

12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.