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.