Compassion in the Refugee Crisis

The Syrian Refugee Crisis has taken the internet, particularly social media, by storm. Everyone has an opinion on the matter. There is not secret that my opinion is to consider receiving women and children to protect them from certain death. There are arguments to accept no one from people with good intention. As Christians we are caught between two worlds.  There is the reality of the fallen depraved world in which we live, and there is the hope in the Kingdom that is to come. We want to be smart in the reality in which we exist, but live for the Kingdom where we will always live. How can we do this in the midst of this crisis?

Show compassion. It is really that simple. And here is the great thing about compassion, no matter which side you are on you can have compassion. I have heard many people say, “Even the Muslim people around them will not take them in so why should we?” Friends, Muslim people do not know the God that Christians know. 1 John makes it clear we know love because we know God. How can we expect those who do not know God to show compassion? And how can we not expect those that do know God not to show compassion? So what are some ways we can do this?

1. Pray

Pray for these refugees, pray for our leaders who have to make tough decisions, pray for the enemy of the refugees, and pray about how you can help. Prayer is a powerful thing and we should intercede for those in help. How many of us Christians have stopped and prayed about this at all? How many have has prayed if our position is the biblical position? Folks, we need an open Bible and a submitted heart on this issue

Today I prayed for the need for people to seek refuge to end. I prayed that the enemy would come to authentic salvation, or due justice. I prayed that church would have the compassion and humility to act appropriately if given the opportunity.

If you have not prayed for these refugees what is stopping you?

2. Care

These refugees are people facing death. While some may try to slip in as terrorist the mass majority are fleeing terrorist. Care about what they are going through. Let’s think of the refugees as individuals. People who are in need of help. People with names, people with families, people with jobs, etc. People in need of help and the Gospel. Don’t remove yourself from this fact. Do not desensitize the situation by generalizing them. They are people like you and I, and if roles were reversed I know what we would all want.

Care if they know the gospel are not. Many of these people have never heard the name of Jesus. They will live, die, and go to Hell without hearing the gospel. That should deeply disturb us! I have seen too many people claim Christ not care. Or insinuate we should care more about Americans than Syrians. I am really glad that is not how the gospel works. It is for the Jew and the Gentile.

The book of James tells us that pure religion takes care of the widows and orphans. If you are not deeply disturbed that children are dying then I you cannot claim you are pro-life. Be an advocate for these without a voice like the ones in the womb without a voice! Compassion and love do not end when it no longer convenient for you.

If you are not disturbed by innocent men, women, and children dying at the hands of the same enemy we fear it might be a heart issue. People dying without hearing the gospel should make us deeply saddened. You don’t have to open your door but you should be deeply saddened by what is happening. Longing for Jesus to return and rid the world of such evil.

3. Stop Posting Hateful Things

This is for people on both sides. Christians do not need to make those who feel strongly about rejecting refugees for what they perceive to be pure motives as not be Christian, or lesser than. That is not helpful and if not careful we can be guilty of this, and I confess I may have been that way.

Also, meme’s that show the number of veterans who are homeless are not helpful. One, God does not distinguish the difference in the souls. They both matter and deserve compassion equally, one is not greater or in more need than the other. Secondly on this, what are you doing to help these homeless veterans? If nothing then don’t post that.

The internet can be helpful but often we post out of emotion. I am very guilty of this. Pray about what you are going to post, wait before you post, and seek to glorify God in what you post. Meme’s and messages of hate have no business on the social media page of Christian. No matter which side you belong on.

4. Preach the Gospel

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” 2 Timothy 4:2. This means when it is easy, and when it isn’t. What we say about the refugee matters. Our theology of this crisis matters. What we say and believe about the refugees says a lot about what we believe about the gospel.

The gospel is not popular, and it will not make sense. And it should not make sense. When we understand this life isn’t really about us it changes how we act and what we say. Most people will not understand that. It may just point them to the cross though so be bold in your proclamation.

Whatever you view is may it be a gospel-centered view. Back it up with Scripture and may your convictions be clear and pure. May they point people to the cross.

5. Recognize the Reality of Sin

Sandy Hook was not ISIS. Columbine was not ISIS. Charleston was not ISIS. Aurora was not ISIS. These were American men consumed by the reality of sin. It’s not going to end. The reality is that more people will be victims of terror, and more people will be victims of people here at home too. This is not exclusively a Muslim problem, it is a sin problem.

Until this world is completely eradicated from the affect of the Fall there will always be sin. There is only one solution and cure, the gospel. Muslims need it, Americans need, and you and I need it as well. If we completely wipe out ISIS there will be a new threat. Do not be prejudice and make outlandish non-factual claims about a people. Anyone and everyone is just as capable of being guilty of sin.

6. Be Ready to Act

If refugees are not let in be ready to pray, send care packages, and whatever else you can do to help. We should want to help people in need even if it means from a distance. Support a missionary, just find a way to get involved whether big or small.

If they do come here be prepared to serve. Help get food, encourage your church to get involved, and whatever else you can to serve these people as Matthew 25:35-40 teacher. Either way just be ready to act as you would want people to act, and how Jesus expects us to act to our neighbor in need.

Syrian Refugees from a Christian Worldview

By now you have probably seen the news that the governors of Alabama, Michigan, and Texas will bot be allowing Syrian refugees. Those fleeing for their lives will find no safety in these states. As this news broke I watched on Facebook for responses. I watched local politicians pander, I watched people refer to mosques as training grounds for terrorist,  I watched people celebrate refusal to help those in need. And I understand these celebrations. After what happened in Paris it is obvious that there are people who want to kill over an ideology. That while most Syrian refugees are running from what we are afraid of some are slipping into that guise to to perhaps bring home. While I understand this fear from a Christian worldview I cannot accept it. So how then does the Christian respond to this?

We need to recognize we are not far removed from being an enemy ourself. Before we were regenerate we were enemies of God, and we hated God. Colossians says this about our pre-regenerate life, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds.” Ephesians 2:3 says that were born as “natures of wrath.” While were yet sinners in this way Christ died for His elect still. While we hated God, He loved us in the way of death on a cross. When we opposed Him, He welcomed us.

Read Matthew 25:35-40 and James 1:27. The biblical mandate is quite clear. We care for the orphans, the widows, and we offer what we have to those in need. There is no prerequisite to this, we simply act as God dated towards us. We as image bearers of God are to reflect the characteristics He puts on display. Loving our enemies, caring for them, and even when they hate us we offer a helping hand. We do not look through the lens of an American worldview, but of a Christian worldview. This does not mean we do not seek justice against the terrorist who bring harm. We can and should do that. It just means when someone is in need of help, we help.

On the flip side of all of this is an eternal perspective to keep in mind. Many of the Syrians fleeing have never heard the gospel clearly or at all. They do not know who Jesus Christ is, or have not clearly understood who He is. In that state when physical death comes, so does an eternal spiritual death. Women and children who have never heard of Jesus will spend eternity in Hell. How can we as recipients of this good news be okay with that? How does that cause celebration?  Friends we are living for a different Kingdom and must always live with those actions in mind.

You cannot beg for America to be a more Christian nation and to seek God only when it is convenient to what you believe. I hope you are as grieved as I am. Grieved at the celebrations of refusal for help that may bring physical and spiritual death to many. Grieved by instead of letting the great commission coming to us we have chosen to refuse the opportunity to evangelize to thousands, and to provide safety for christians who are in danger.

I understand the fear of letting military aged men here. I think at a minimum we should offer safety of women and children. I understand the fear of what that may bring to us. I understand it is a tricky situation and we should never intentionally put ourselves and others in harms way. I am not advocating that. I simply ask you to pray. What would Christ have us do?

As one of my Facebook friends put it, “If we stop loving others when we’re inconvenienced, threatened, or afraid… did we really ever love at all?” Our job here on earth is simple: to know God and to make Him known. A great way to do that is helping refugees as God has done to us, and using that as an opportunity to point people to the Gospel.