Faith | Jesus & Refugees

This is a tough subject. But one that has been pulling at my attention for a while no matter how many times, I try to ignore it. So, here we go. 

I understand how lucky (read blessed) I am. But so many people don’t have an ounce of the opportunities that I have had in my life so far. The universe distributes talent evenly but not always opportunity (this is from some online university commercial but it gets me all teary eyed every time I hear it). Despite what you think of Mexican immigrants that come into our country, they come for the American Dream that we’ve told the world we have here. Except it seems, it’s only for Americans.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. -Luke 6:32

Let’s be honest, I don’t agree with most of the things coming from the other side of the aisle, but I also know God tells me to be at peace with those around me and to love. Love for those who I disagree with, those suffering, and those causing suffering. I can’t change minds by yelling at those I disagree with or causing pain. I can change minds by showing love to the other side of the aisle and to those suffering by supporting refugees, helping the homeless have a meal or get to that job interview with a bus pass, to listen, to simply show up and be present. Go the extra mile, your actions speak volumes. (Matthew 5:39-42)

Photo via Dialogos Canada

The argument for not accepting refugees that infuriates me the most is that “they (refugees) need to go home and fix it (whatever it is)” well, that is an admirable opinion. But would you have that same opinion if the government was dropping poisonous gas in your neighborhood? If gangs were raping your daughters and recruiting your sons? Would you seek asylum elsewhere? (Hint: I would) Lest we forget, God called out to Joseph to seek asylum in Egypt so Herod wouldn’t kill Jesus.

Now after [the Wise Men] had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt -Matthew 2:13-14

Art by Everett Patterson, via Daily Theology

I am the furthest thing from a refugee. As a nation of immigrants, I don’t understand this anti-immigrant mindset that has fallen over us. I’m not here to push an agenda or make you believe what I believe, but I can tell you I have lived in a variety of places and traveled a portion of the world. I do not know where our holier than thou attitude comes from. It saddens me to see white people so afraid of anyone that doesn’t look like them. It saddens me to see Christians fearful of Muslims. It saddens me that we judge each other based on where we are from, live, and the cars we drive. You don’t have to agree with everyone but when you begin to see Syrian children arriving on the Greecian beaches as your own children or grandchildren, you will begin to wonder how bad it must be for a mother to put herself and her infant in a dingy boat.

I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. -Matthew 25: 42-43

Would we recognize Jesus today?

Would we see Him in the crowd of Syrians asking for asylum from a destructive regime?

Would we see Him in the faces of the young families threatened by gang violence in Central America?

Photo via TRT World

How have we turned a book that tells the story of refugees over and over again, against modern-day refugees?

Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. -Psalm 17:7

O guard my life, and deliver me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
-Psalm 25:20

NOTE: you can make the Bible say just about anything, this is what I found when God placed refugees on my heart

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