“Let the little children suffer.” (And other things Jesus didn’t say.)

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” -Emma Lazarus

I know nice guys like me aren’t supposed to get political. They tell us we might ruin our platform and push people away. So I won’t be political here. I’ll be human.

I cannot stay silent, considering the human rights violations occurring at the Southern border of the United States. People like Jeff Sessions have been using the Bible to justify ripping families apart and throwing children in cages. Our government is using the Word of God to create a living hell for thousands of families, seeking a better life inside our borders.

I know it may be confusing at times, so I want to be clear: the quotes below are things Jesus did not say:

“Let the little children suffer.”

“Get out of my face with that orphans and widow nonsense.”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will send your brown ass back where you came from.”

“Blessed are the wall builders, for they shall be called children of God.”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But you know what — just go ahead and hate them if they’re not your neighbor.”

“You know who I was talking about when I said not to give sacred stuff to dogs or to throw your pearls to pigs, right? Build the wall.”

“Store up for yourself treasures on earth, and kick out anyone who isn’t paying taxes and doesn’t have a green card. And while you’re at it, rip their screaming children from their arms and lock them in cages.”

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. JK! JK! Look out for numero uno, baby! You gotta get yours!”

“Enter through the narrow gate. Unless you’ve got kids. Cause we gonna lock them up!”

“Watch out for the cute little Mexican kids. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

“If they show up without proper identification, I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

“When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Unless it’s America — they’re just kidding with that whole Statue of Liberty thing.”

“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. (As long as they’re following the law, have been fully vetted, and documented.)”

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, they’ll be called a snowflake.”

“Hey white folks, y’all come over here. I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is white.”

“The disciples said, ‘Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’ And Jesus sent them away hungry and needy.”

“I have no compassion for these people. So what if they’ve been here three days with nothing to eat? If they go away hungry and collapse on the way, maybe they’ll stay home next time. They shouldn’t have brought their children here anyways. Animals!”

(Tweet any of the quotes Jesus didn’t say, using the hashtag #NotMyJesus)

The next two scenarios also didn’t happen:

A foreigner came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “Sorry, sucka! I ain’t down with immigrants!”

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “He’s not an illegal alien, right?”

Now, let’s look at a few things Jesus did say:

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

“If anyone causes one of these little ones — those who believe in me — to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

“Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”

“So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.” So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“They do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…”

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger, and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes, and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”

They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

This isn’t a post about politics.

I don’t give a damn if you’re red or blue, donkey or elephant. Human rights should have nothing to do with who is in the White House or what party you vote for in November or where you live or how much money you have in the bank or what color your skin is.

I’m crushed for these children, ripped from their Mamas and Daddies. My spirit is groaning for the mothers and fathers, torn from their babies. What we are doing on our Southern border is pure evil. And the worst evil of all is trying to justify our unthinkable and abusive actions with the Bible.

In his book, You are Here, Thich Nhat Hanh says:

To me, the definition of hell is simple. It is a place where there is no understanding and no compassion. We have all been to hell. We are acquainted with hell’s heat, and we know that hell is in need of compassion. If there is compassion, then hell ceases to be hell.

Hanh finishes this simple, yet profound paradigm shift with this, “Hell is a matter of everyday life, like the Kingdom of God. The choice is yours.”

“In that place there will be weeping…” Matthew 13:42

The United States government is actively creating hell for thousands of families seeking a better life at our borders. Therefore, I do not pray that God will have mercy on us, I pray that God will lead us to repentance.

Want to be a peacemaker instead of continuing to perpetuate this violence and terror? Speak out. Choose to live with kindness, empathy, and compassion. The way of the peacemaker space at the table (and in the conversation) for “the other”. As we embrace a life of compassion, we are doing the transformative work of creative heaven, where there has previously been hell. Please call and write to your Congress people (click here and here). Protest. Use your privilege. Make your voice (and your vote) count. Human rights belong to all of us, by virtue of being…a human.

I know, #sobasic.

What did I miss? What would you add to the list of things Jesus didn’t say? Leave your comments below, and share on social media, using the hashtag #NotMyJesus.

Steve Austin was a pastor when he nearly died by suicide. A second chance, a grueling recovery, and years of honest conversation allowed Steve to find healing and purpose. It’s evident in his writing, speaking, podcasting, and coaching: he helps overwhelmed people get their lives back.

Steve is also the author of the Amazon bestseller From Pastor to a Psych Ward. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife, Lindsey, and their two children. Find him online at iamsteveaustin.com.

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