Refugees, Terrorists, and Red Starbuck’s cups

The last couple of days have been difficult to understand.  My confusion began when I started to notice the influx of social media postings referencing outrage over Starbuck’s decision to change their holiday cup design.  I was not aware at the time but I later learned that their cup has been adorned with snowflakes, reindeer, and ornaments since they introduced them in 1997.  Without doing an exhaustive search of previous designs it is my understanding that at no time have their cup designs ever been remotely religious.

Red Cup

My confusion quickly changed to consternation as this issue became a trending topic.  Stories on social media about Christians who were taking a stand at this perceived religious injustice became commonplace.  I read postings of people who were doing things to prove their point.  One popular tactic was to tell the baristas that your name was “Merry Christmas” so they would be forced to write it on your cup.  I am not going to address how telling someone your name is “Merry Christmas” when it is not may just be a sin.  I also don’t recall Christ doing things that were deceptive to get people to follow him.

I shook my head and moved forward.  Hardly any time had passed before the world was shocked by the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris. The brutality and audacity of these attacks both shocked and disgusted us.  Whenever something like this takes place we are quickly taken back to September 11, 2001.  We are reminded of the terror we experienced during those horrible events. Reflection on those memories may even create a renewed sense of fear or anger.

The more that I dwelled on the current events of the day the more that the fear of the current situation took hold.  I sat at my desk listening to the news reports and the speculation about where and how the terrorists were able to accomplish the evil they had perpetrated.  Talk quickly turned to the refugee situation.  Political leaders all over the world refused to let the terrorists win by publicly announcing their support of the Syrian refugees.  Other politicians announced their objection to the U.S. taking in more refugees.

I sat there watching this debate rage back and forth.  I found myself nodding in agreement with those suggesting we turn our backs on the refugees.  I watched Christians on social media again explode voicing their concern over our government’s plan to let these people in.  If we allow these people to come here we could unknowingly be allowing terrorists free entry into the country.  Almost as soon as the thought crossed my mind feelings of guilt followed.  Turning my back on those who truly needed me was not, in a manner of speaking, what Christ would have done.

Christians, we stand at a crossroads.  Our world is brutal and scary.  We see evidence of this every single day.  We must ask ourselves which direction we will travel?

Matthew 7:13-14 

13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

It would be easy to focus on the holiday decorations that are displayed on our coffee cups.  It would be easy and probably safer to turn away the refugees.  If the door is closed to the refugees then no one with illicit motives can sneak in.  These are easy options and they represent the wide gate.

narrowgate2Jesus spent every single day of His ministry choosing the narrow gate. The narrow gate meant loving those who either the world considered unloveable or those who didn’t love him.  This was His example and the only true choice for those who consider themselves followers of Christ.  We are all standing at the crossroads.  What will you choose, the Refugees or Red Starbuck’s cups?

Listening to the Voice,

Jeremy

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