This has surely been an eventful week! Social media has been ablaze with discussion on whether Syrian refugees should relocate to United States. Here is my take on it. Feel free to disagree. Let’s just keep it civil.
One of the most common responses many share is the element of risk. I get it. It is risky. All the vetting in the world will not guarantee that unsavory elements bent on destruction will be kept at bay.
Yet…before we refuse help to those that need it most, please consider this. The gospel is risky. So is following Jesus.
It was risky for missionaries to go to foreign land where they were eaten, beaten and killed. They put their families at risk, many of them going to preach with a one way ticket.
It was risky for the disciples to share Jesus’ message across the world. Most died as a result.
It was risky for people in Nazi Germany to hide in their homes Jewish people. They put their families at risk of death.
There are many words to describe discipleship. Safe is not one of them.
Just because there is a possibility of harm, does not preclude me from the responsibility of loving and caring for the least of these. Pictures of that baby washing ashore eats at me every day. I have kids and grandkids. What if that was my situation? What would I do? It is my belief, and you may well disagree, that the choice is not between helping the least of these or keeping my family safe. It is between saving the least of these or following a biblical command. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am.
We usually reject what we don’t know. Let’s do away for a moment with political rhetoric and posturing, tracking lists or rabid dogs analogies. These are people. Kids like yours. Women like your mom. Men like your brother. The bigger question I seldom hear asked is this: What causes people in that region to think blowing themselves up is a better choice than their lives? (thanks Yamil for that question) What is going on that they would think that putting your child on an overcrowded boat is a better idea than staying where you are? What a wonderful time to follow the many commands of Jesus regarding the least of these. Many years from now as people look back what will they say about the church? A post-Christian wrote me this week:
“You Christians are amazing. Although this is an unscientific poll,
but a quick browse through my FB pages I see that many of the so called Christians,
are the one refusing to accept the refugees, and the so called godless heathens
are the ones calling for compassion and charity to them.”
Somehow, we need to find a way to do better. I believe we can.