What is an Infidel?

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.”

 

Syrian Refugees- The Newest Fad

There have been enough debates and articles on the Syrian refugee crisis.  So that’s not what this blog post is about; this post is just some of my observations over the past few months.

I can see why there are two sides on the Syrian refugee issue, because there are opposite angles that compose it.

I agree that a government should probably not be allowing a couple thousand refugees to storm the country, especially when the threat of terrorism is at such a critical level.  I find it odd that there are a flood of refugees worldwide (have been for hundreds of years), and yet it is for this certain group that we open our doors.  Why now?  Why are these people allowed more help than persecuted and displaced people in other countries?  A government’s job is to protect and provide for its own citizens first.

BUT- before you tear me apart, let me point something out.  I said that this is probably how the government’s perspective should be.  There is a different one that I am called to.  I am called to look through Jesus’ eyes.  He plainly told His followers to love, serve, and care for the widow, orphan, and stranger in the land.  As some point out, we may be killed for our good efforts.  Who knows?  But, if the government is going to place thousands of strangers in our land, we are called to love our neighbor because Christ first loved us.

HOWEVER, HE MEANT THIS AS A LIFESTYLE!

Christians left and right are gathering funds, opening homes, and calling for help over loudspeakers in regard to the Syrian refugees.  Wonderful.  It truly is because most of these refugees have went through indescribable horrors, but is part of it because this current refugee crisis has become a “fad”, something popular to do?  I mean, it’s cool to help these people- just check out Humans of New York’s page if you don’t know what I mean.  Or read about how the President’s wife invited the Syrian refugee “Scientist” to join her at the State of the Union Address.

My question is, are we as quick to help ones who have lost family and homes in the destructive flooding in the southern states?  As eager to declare our feelings on ending abortions and allowing newborns to enter this country?  As willing to open our houses to the mentally exhausted and financially depleted within our churches and community?  As sacrificing in our paychecks to the orphans and refugees who are facing persecution and nightmares in lands other than Syria?

This is what Jesus calls us to- a continual life spent lifting the downtrodden, giving strength to the weak, and healing to the hurting….whether it’s cool or not!

 

*If you’re looking for a safe organization to donate funds to for refugees, persecuted, and displaced people, check out Christian Aid Ministries.