My father is a guest contributor today, and I think he does a great job of looking at the refugee issue from a Christian perspective.
I also find it interesting that almost exactly a year ago, I shared some of my thoughts at- Syrian Refugees: The Newest Fad.
“As a Christian, where do I stand? What do I tell co-workers, friends, and family? Let’s face it, we’re going to be pulled into this immigration controversy, whether we like it or not. The media is full of hate towards our new President and his stand on border control and immigration. But where should the Christians stand?
Christ clearly commands us to love our neighbors, do good to those around us, and help the needy. However, I can’t help but wonder if we have been hypocritical in our beliefs concerning this issue. Our millennial hearts, Bible, and “media voices” tell us to open our arms to the refugees. However, let’s not become hypocritical as a certain Canadian leader who claims the refugees are welcome there. Perhaps that is true, but if you have ever had family and friends try moving to Canada from the USA, you know that the “arms open wide” principle does not apply to everyone.
Let’s take another look at what the Bible says. Take a moment right now to read 1 Timothy 5:8. Marinate on that verse for awhile. The King James Version calls this person an infidel, a person who has denied the faith. This is pretty serious, I mean, we’re talking on a level of eternity-serious! If you don’t take care of your own, well, there is pretty fiery consequences.
So the question then arises- how have I been taking care of my “own”? We provide first for our physical and spiritual families, and then we work together with our physical and spiritual families to care for the “sojourners in the land”. Our first responsibility is to the families that God has put under our care. Is this selfish? No, it’s the way God intended. Does it mean we spoil our families and shower them with lavish luxuries. No, we are called to live simply so that we can give then to the strangers around us.
There once was a man whose sister lost her house to a fire and her crops and buildings to a storm. One plague after another hit her until she had no choice but to sell the farm. There was no money left to support her and her family. This woman’s sister kindly allowed the homeless family to move in with her. What about the brother? Not once did he offer to help, despite the fact that he owned multiple rental properties. But a few years later, he gave one of his properties rent free to a Syrian refugee family. Who was this man? Did he belong to some “heathen” religion? Guess again, he was a man from our conservative Anabaptist circles.
Was it wrong for this man to give a house to a refugee family? No, he was following Biblical commands. But he missed the mark when it came to providing for his own. Do we know his reason for not supporting his sister? No- perhaps it wouldn’t gain enough recognition or perhaps he considered her a bad manager, but whatever the case, he obviously felt rationalized for his lack of empathy.
Some Anabaptist churches will not be responsible for their own members’ health-care expenses; yet they hold refugee awareness programs.
Should our love and help only go to certain people? Isn’t that being a bit hypocritical?
Before we pour condemnation on our leaders; let’s look at it from their shoes. From a government’s perspective, they should be protecting our citizens. Our country has incurred debts that our children will never be able to pay because we have been busy helping everyone else. The United States is being threatened with continual terrorist attacks. We, Christians, claim to love the refugees yet we spew forth hate speeches against the Leader of our country. God places the “kings in kingdoms”, and we are called to pray for those who make our country’s decisions.
May we have our eyes open to not only the needs of the world around us, but also to our very own desperate needs in the churches and communities around us. And may we also pray that God gives wisdom and discernment to our leaders.”