My wise and thoughtful Niece posted the entire passage from Matthew 25, 31-46 on Facebook the other day. She has a knack for making me think. In the heat of our spirited debates, when we are both laughing and accusing each other of some dubious position we backed ourselves into, she always sneaks in a nasty curveball for the “K”. She’s been an awesome role model for both of my daughters.
Matthew 25 is often referred to as “The Final Judgment”. We always hear the second paragraph referenced in social media, as it discusses the proactive approach toward “the stranger”, which Jesus expects of his followers. I am posting the entire passage below.
But…if you choose to read any of it, please pay close attention to the third paragraph. Like me, you may have stopped reading after the second paragraph and missed the uncomfortable part. While I’m not a “Red Letter Christian”, I always pay close attention to the red text. As Matthew reveals in this text, Jesus is telling us that a judgement will be made someday by the Son of Man. He indicates, quite clearly, that this decision will not be part of a democratic process. It will be based upon our individual actions and behaviors.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
There is ample opportunity in this moment to assist, support and advocate for those that are seeking the America we were all raised to believe in. An America with open arms, providing refuge for those fleeing dangerous situations, providing a safe haven for their families and providing them with all the possibilities that our nation offers us. I have flown over this country many times. We have more than enough room for everyone and we have millions of caring Americans waiting to welcome them into the fabric of our communities.
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yeah they’ll know we are Christians by our love