Right now it seems to be the thing for all the Christians to argue about refugees and terrorists. We’re drawing lines in the sand of who more faithfully follows God’s word. I’m not going to give an opinion today about which solution I think is best because that’s not what I see as the point.
Accepting refugees is the easy thing to do – it makes us feel like we’re fulfilling our call as Christians when we’re actually not doing anything at all. We’ll keep paying our taxes like we did yesterday and we will tomorrow, but feel honorable in doing so because it’s accomplishing something that allows us to check a line off our “being a Christian” list.
Turning refugees away is the safe thing to do – it gives us an illusion of security when it may or may not actually prevent anything. We’ll go about our business feeling like we’ve made a difference, but we’ll continue to squander our safety by failing to take care of those hurting in our own nation.
Here’s a radical idea: Our country doesn’t have to accept refugees in order to fulfill your and my calling as Christ-followers. We can still fail to fulfill that calling even if we do accept refugees.
We need to take a hard look at ourselves and challenge our hearts to leave our comfortable places so we can love other people. We can’t fall back on the debate of whether or not our government should take on the responsibility. We need to look at how, when, and where WE, as individual believers making up the church, take care of other people.
We are Christ-followers. That means we are SOUL CONNECTORS, we are HEART CARRIERS, and we are BURDEN SHARERS. We are called to connect with others in community, carry weary hearts to Christ, and share in each other’s hardships.
Sometimes we feel like we have to do that on a grand scale to make a difference. I know I’m guilty. But there’s somebody in YOUR personal space who is hurting and needs a friend. There’s someone without a home. There’s someone who lost a child. There’s a child who lost their family. There’s someone without a job. There’s someone battling physical pain and sickness. There’s someone who doesn’t want to see tomorrow. There’s someone who cannot get the care and necessities they need. There’s someone who still doesn’t understand Christ.
We may think those things are so trivial when there are people fleeing their homes because of violence and destruction. But who are we to decide who needs Christ’s love and who does not?
Maybe our neighbor came from across town. Maybe they came from across the world. Our call is still the same. But somehow we think if we do the big things, the little things just fall into place by themselves.
Don’t tell me accepting any refugee is the best thing we can do when 99% of us will never get off of social media to do anything once they’re here. Our rants will die down, they’ll receive a little assistance from the government and other organizations, and eventually blend in with everyone else in our country.
Refugees assimilate into society and become our co-workers, neighbors, and members of our community. Once they enter, they’re no longer the people we see in pictures online. They’re the faces next door.
We only need to look at how we treat the orphans in our own neighborhoods, the homeless people in our cities, the single parents in our churches to see how we will treat the refugees.
Are we prepared for that? Are we prepared to leave behind the pats on the back for our political opinions and instead get messy and busy actually loving and serving them? Are we prepared to stop talking and start doing?
A few weeks ago, several posts circulated online informing us that if only ONE family in every three churches received ONE child ready for adoption, there would be no more orphans in the US. The majority of us felt important in spreading awareness, but we didn’t do anything about it.
I’m not saying any group is more important than the other – in fact, that’s the point. It’s a pretty stark example of how we, as a church, love “the least of these”.
Accepting refugees doesn’t fulfill God’s command to open up ourselves to others. Loving people in our own small corner of the world, whether it includes refugees or not, does. From where I stand, we all struggle with this, including myself.
Until we can learn to see the opportunities around us and take care of those in our lives, why do we think God will entrust us with more? If we’re not faithful with the small things, why would He call us to the big things?
I can’t help but think our Heavenly Father is looking down on us with a heavy heart, seeing that no matter what we do, we’ll pass off the responsibility of loving others to someone else, yet fool ourselves into thinking we’re the righteous ones.
When the refugees come, that’s the day your job as the Christ-follower begins. It’s not the end of the mission. If they don’t come in some areas, that’s still the day your job begins. It starts right here, right now, in your hometown with whoever is already there.
Whatever happens, I hope we can stop arguing and realize this reveals something really significant about ourselves. It’s something we need to address.
We need eyes like the Father’s – to look around our own neighborhoods and around the world to see what’s happening right in front of us.
I just want to look more like love.