A few years ago a couple from my church hosted a young girl and her mother from South America as partners of a ministry Franklin Graham started years ago called Samaritan’s Purse. The little girl needed life-saving heart surgery, but her family was completely incapable of affording it, and her home country was completely incapable of providing it.
So Samaritan’s Purse stepped in, and through the donations of countless American Christians, financed and facilitated everything necessary to save the girl’s life. They flew her and her mom to central Indiana, provided them an interpreter, paid for her surgery and recovery time at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, and then flew them home.
The last Sunday they were with us, the mother stood on the steps at my church, and through her tears and her interpreter said to the congregation, “It is no wonder that God blesses America with the way your people bless others.” It was a moment I will never forget.
And it’s a moment that came flooding back into my mind when I read the almost incomprehensible criticism that Franklin Graham took in this tweet from a ministry director from New York named George Mekhail that was then re-tweeted with approval by the left-wing activist Brian McLaren:
“I once followed teaching that was devoid of concern for my neighbor, prioritizing my own salvation above all else. I’ve repented. You?”
The pride in man’s heart can be astounding and appalling, as evidenced in that remark. This is what happens when individuals begin absolutizing politics rather than God and mistaking public policy for Christian ministry – something that McLaren is notorious for doing and Mekhail has apparently adopted.
For anyone to accuse, even backhandedly so, Franklin Graham of lacking “concern for his neighbor,” or “prioritizing his own salvation above all else,” is the height of hubris. Let me be clear in saying I understand why these two men have gone down this path. They are frustrated with Graham’s outward and vocal support of President Trump. Personally, I have wished on more than a few occasions that Graham would distance himself from Trumpism, or at least highlight areas of concern with this administration.
Criticize that if you will. But to possess so much enmity or envy in your heart for a man like Graham, or to harbor so much hatred in your heart for a man like Trump, that you resort to making outrageously false accusations about Graham’s concern for the poor and underprivileged, is nothing short of sinful.