So, for those of you who don’t know, it’s Refugee Awareness Month.
Happy Refugee Awareness Month.
I try to stay off the internet. Lately I’ve spent a bit of time catching myself up to speed, and I am usually stunned at what I see. I find myself having ongoing conversations in my head over it.
I decided to bring the conversation to my blog.
It goes like this:
The media (as well as certain other influential members of our country) is spreading mass fear over refugees and has been for some time now. And yes, refugee numbers are at an all time low, so nice work, fear. Many of the people I see raging against the United States welcoming refugees are also proclaiming to be Christians, to the intense disgust of my non-believing friends.
And I see their point.
If we are people who say we believe that the Bible is our ultimate guide to life, then we will read many things in it that direct us to rescue those in need, at no thought to our own risk or discomfort. Even down to the loss of home, food, clothes.
Naturally, that seems to mean we will gladly welcome refugees with open arms, with no thought to our own loss.
“…I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me…”
People who read their Bibles know that this is a terrifying section of the Bible and it goes on to say that people who refused to shelter and care for those in need (hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, imprisoned) will be cast out into eternal punishment. (Hell.)
“…He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment…”
But there are daily rants by people who read their Bible who are demanding that we shut down our borders to any who might harm some Americans.
What are we thinking? What are we even saying? Have we been so conditioned by the media, our leaders, our society, our desire for comfort, that we no longer care about bringing the stranger and the alien into our comfort and faith?
I know. Refugees cause personal harm at times.
So do legal American citizens.
In fact, EVERY day, American citizens are doing unspeakable things to other American citizens. Maybe we should turn them into refugees so we can avoid that problem.
As Christians, we are told to take the Gospel to the world. And here we have the world coming to US! We are talking about people who may not know Jesus who are willingly turning to Christians or ANYONE who will help them.
And yet some Christians feel that they have too much to lose to be bothered to risk helping another human in need.
But, if we’re looking to the Bible…the ultimate guide to life…
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”
Now…I get it:
There is a social stigma to being a refugee.
There is a social stigma to being a foster child, even once you are adopted.
There is a social stigma to being poor.
There is a social stigma to being a minority.
But it’s okay. Christians have the Bible as their ultimate guide to life.
Therefore they do not mind jumping into that social stigma right alongside the poor, the stranger, the alien, the fatherless. Anyone at all who needs us. We don’t mind.
After all, what in the world do we have to lose?
Money? No, we believe that our treasure is in heaven (therefore we are not into stockpiling money while on earth, see Matthew 6).
Comfort? No, Jesus has called us to daily take up our cross and follow him.
Reputation? No, we believe we are called to suffer with Christ, so we don’t mind having our reputation damaged for our faith and care for those in need.
Then it must be our safety. No, Jesus said we would lose our safety. He said if we would be like him, we would suffer with him. Matthew 5:10-12, Matthew 10:22, Philippians 3:8-21, 1 Peter 2:21.
Well, okay then. For the eternally minded believer, we have nothing to lose that even matters at all in the next life, which is what we are living for, (see the Bible) and everything to gain (heaven) by giving ourselves, money, reputation, time, comfort, and safety for others.
Even if that other happens to be a refugee.
“Comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house as guest, and then becomes a host, and then master…it becomes a tamer, and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires. Though its hands are silken, its heart is of iron…the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul and then walks grinning to the funeral.”
-Kahlil Gibran (As quoted in The Gold Cord, by Amy Carmichael)