Luke 4:18, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised …
Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Luke 10:33-34, But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
1 John 3:16-18, Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
For those of us who know the Lord, passages like the ones above, and so many more that deal with caring for the poor, the orphan, the stranger (immigrant/refugee), and the marginalized people in a society, remind us of God’s desire for us to be a caring and sharing people. God’s desires for us to be a people who have compassion and are concerned with the needs of those who do not have it as well as we do for whatever the reason. And, at the same time, we understand that we have a holy obligation to do what we can to get the Gospel out to those who do not know Christ. And, as I have mentioned a few times recently in these posts, that would no doubt include the millions of refugees both here and abroad. Yet, this is a complicated matter. Awhile back, I read these words:
We have arrived at a moment of crisis. This crisis has existed for some time, truthfully, but it has met a confluence of other factors, and here we are. Like all crisis moments, this crisis calls for a reasoned response. Issues like immigration, radical Islamists, terrorism, and governance have all converged in Syria, Paris, and now the United States. In the middle of these issues stands the Church of Jesus. We understand that we need to share the gospel and serve those who are hurting, but how should that be done most effectively, and how can it be balanced with a commitment to national security and appropriate governance?
These issues, and more, have driven us to a place where we need to come together and come to some sense of conclusion about these issues and an appropriate, biblically faithful, Christian response.
The Bible teaches us to be of sound and sober mind. This is an opportunity to do exactly that. Good people can and do disagree on issues of policy, but we’ve passed far beyond issues of policy. Unfortunately, refugees are being treated like the new Ebola. Much like the Ebola panic, many are now terrified of refugees. Is there a response that is more in the way of Jesus?
As I mentioned in my first post on this subject, my primary concern with this issue is how we, as Christians, as the church are looking at the issue. I am just wondering if we are looking at this issue as Americans first, and Christians secondly. To be honest, on occasion, I wonder if we are looking at the issue like a Christian at all.
In a recent post I wrote, These people are not terrorists, they are fleeing terror! These dear people are seeking refuge from persecution, pain, poverty, and peril. And, of course, the vast majority of these people are also lost without Christ, and many of refugee-1them, because of their present situation, would be more open to the Gospel than ever before if Christians would sincerely seek to love them as we are commanded to do in the Holy Scriptures. Unfortunately, far too many of us are looking at this politically, rather than biblically. We are looking at these people with calloused, critical, and condemning hearts, rather than compassionate hearts.
I also asked three sobering questions in a recent post:
- WHAT IF IT WAS OUR WIFE WHO WAS A REFUGEE?
- WHAT IF IT WAS OUR CHILDREN WHO WERE FLEEING FOR SAFETY?
- WHAT IF THESE WERE OUR GRANDCHILDREN SEEKING REFUGE AND LONGING FOR SOMEONE TO CARE?
I want to take a few moments and share a few practical things we should and can do concerning this issue.
Practical Things We Can Do?
*We can become better informed about the issue at hand! When it comes to matter such as this, for God’s people, ignorance is definitely not bliss. Of course, we must not let our favorite news outlet, whether it be FOXNews, CNN, or any other, be our only source of information. If we do, we get a biased slant at best!
*We can pray! Prayer moves the Hand that moves the world. While there are definitely other things that we can and should do, there is nothing more important than praying for the refugees and the whole refugee situation. A good thing to keep in mind: while prayer may not always change the circumstances, prayer will always change us.
*We can give! It has often been said, we can give without loving, but we can never love without giving. God has blessed us with so much, not so we can increase our standard of living, but so we can increase our standard of giving. Find an organization, a missionary abroad, or a church here in the States that is working with refugees and set aside some money to be sent to them on a regular basis to help with this needy cause!
*We can go! Whether for a short term missions trip or for a lifetime, I am sure that God would be pleased, our lives would be changed, and the recipients of our loving service would be grateful!
WHEN IT COMES TO REACHING THESE PEOPLE WITH THE GOSPEL, THEY WILL NEVER BE MORE OPEN THAN THEY ARE NOW, IN THESE REFUGEE CAMPS!
*We can reach the refugees and the immigrants that are already here! I don’t know if you realize it or not, there are quite a few refugees and immigrants right here, right now. What are we doing to lovingly reach them for Christ. All over our country, you can find Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and communist atheists, who for one reason or another fled to America – the land of the free – looking for a better life. It would be a real blessing if we went out of our way to love them and introduce them to the One who is the Life!
*We can start a ministry in our church for the refugees! See the point above. God knows there are many churches that are within striking distance of where pockets of refugees are living right here in the United States.
*We can sponsor a refugee family! Usually, for a refugee to be replanted in a new country they have to be sponsored by a family, a group of families, or church. Check into sponsoring a refugee family!
Above are just a few things we can do! It’s true, we can’t do everything, but we can do something. It’s also true, we probably can’t help every refugee, but possibly we can surely help some refugee.
James 2:14-18, What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Can we hear their cries for help?
Just peeking at a serious problem!