By: Dave Illingworth
Getting it wrong: “This (immigration) isn’t about religion.” – Houston Texans football players to Atheist teammate Arian Foster
Getting it right: “Love your neighbor…” (Matthew 5:43; Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:33; Luke 10:27; John 13:34)
In August, ESPN The Magazine featured a story about Houston Texans Atheist running back Arian Foster and an exchange that took place between him and some Christian teammates:
Arian Foster is in the training room having a discussion with two teammates about immigration. They state the U.S. should close off the border to Mexico. Foster, whose mother is Mexican-American, asks if they are Christians. They both say they are, and Foster questions them about Jesus, asking what He said about loving your neighbor. “Isn’t Mexico our neighbor?” They respond that Foster is missing the point. They tell him this isn’t about religion.
Foster is rightly confused and says, “I’m not religious, but I agree with a lot of the tenets Jesus held.” He goes on, “I’m not a picket-sign Atheist. I have an open mind…I just want to be a happy human being and continue to learn.”
Author H.G Wells once wrote, “If there is no God, nothing matters. If there is a God, that’s all that matters.” Immigration may not be about religion, but it is about people. God cares about people; therefore, it matters to God and should matter to us. Jesus has told us to love one another, turn the other cheek, and to pray for our enemies.
There is hope. Justin Forsett was a teammate of Foster’s for one season. Son of a minister, Forsett is a Christian, and the two developed a friendly adversarial relationship. As Forsett put it, “Arian pushes me to be a better man and a better man of faith.”
The skeptic, Arian Foster, is actually pushing Justin Forsett, the believer, to a stronger faith. Foster says of Forsett, “Here’s what I respect about him: Justin was never like, ‘Hey, man, you’re going to go to hell.’ He was like, ‘This is what I believe is the right way, and I’ll pray for you.’ I never feel arrogance or judgment.” Justin Forsett is defending his faith in a gentle and respectful way.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
When God searches the hearts of the four men in this story, which ones do you think will be pleasing to Him?