An inspirational call to love

This call to love the unlovable and bring near the outcast will touch every Christian heart.

As I was finishing up an embroidery of a Maya Angelou poem while contemplating Jamie Smith’s profound and almost mystical use of parentheses and italics, I almost split my PJs and spilt my latte when I read that not-my-president Trump called the MS-13 “gang” a bunch of “animals.” With deranged determination, I tweeted my #disgust with a hearty #gross at such an outrage and I liked all my friends’ outrage-tweets. The evangelical justice league was assembled and ready for some swift twitter-action. Many evangelical leaders, from tenured seminary professors to pastors in the upper echelons of denominations, courageously denounced Trump’s comment, risking yet again their jobs, standing, and livelihood, which only by the grace of God they’ve kept after many similar risks. (I’m shocked that they still get so many book deals.) Willing to risk it all and die on the hill of human dignity, I stand with them deeply concerned with the language Trump has used to describe MS-13.

As a gospel community, we Christians should always strive to love the unlovable, to lift up the marginalized, and to bring near the outcast. We are to shower people with our gospel love. This is why we vehemently take issue with President Trump’s dehumanization of MS-13. We fully concede that these image-bearers mutilate their enemies’ children and sell young girls into prostitution, but they nevertheless possess inviolable, infinite dignity—a spark of divinity is in every person. No matter how irrational they might be, no matter how lacking in reason and judgment, no matter how devoid of natural human affection, no matter how unfit they are for human civil society, no matter how far they go in extinguishing in themselves the fundamental principles of human relations—they remain fully human. Indeed, they are just as human as you and me, and only by the grace of God are we not one of them.

When we dehumanize people, we lose the gospel. While we of the justice league don’t believe in the social gospel, we do believe that the gospel is social. The gospel declares that all persons are equal—equal in worth, in sin, and in need of grace. The gospel is the great equalizer, for all of us are sinners equally in need of it. Whether you carve your names in other people’s flesh or you fib when you tell your communications intern that his man bun accents his v-neck, we are all equally deserving of one thing: hell. All sins are violations of cosmic justice. We are therefore no better than MS-13. And that’s a good thing, for as Duke Kwon said, “It’s impossible to love someone you disagree with when you secretly believe they need Jesus more than you do.” Don’t get puffed up with pride because you haven’t committed an act of (physical) violence lately.

So true. (sniff) I, for one, feel moved to write a letter to President Trump demanding that more Latin gangbangers, murderers, and sex-traffickers be granted legal residence in the United States, so that we more effectively bear witness to them.

In fact, should we not also prioritize the immigration of cannibals and rapists from Papua New Guinea, out of Christian love?