There has been so much talk over what to do, how to respond, and what position we need to take, regarding this crisis.
There are, it seems to me, a few issues that we’ve overlooked. The first is that we (the USA) have a hand in the origins of this crisis. For better or worse, we have been involved in the Middle East for just about two decades. We have caused tumult, unrest, displacement, and chaos. Our reasons for being there to begin with, rightly or wrongly, are byeond the scope of this blog.
Furthermore, over the last eight years, we have been involved in drone bombing campaigns as the death/displacement toll continues to rise. I am forced to ask myself this question, “What can I contribute to fix this?”
I’ve wanted to figure out how to make a difference, but being one guy facing what looks like an insermountable obstacle, is intimidating to say the least. This last week, we had special guest Kip Lines on the show. If you haven’t yet, go read his article in the Christian Standard, which can be found here: http://christianstandard.com/2017/01/what-does-the-bible-say/
When we look through the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, we see various examples of people being displaced, by force, or being asked to go. Particularly, however, in the Hebrew Bible, we see copious examples of charity for the alien being demanded by God, on the part of his people. Furthermore, in the NT, we see the person of Jesus who lives as a refugee, fleeing from Herod, for the sake of his life.
I want to be careful to draw exact paralleles between the biblical exampels and our current situation. Truthfully, I don’t think you can. However, what I do find applicable is the sentiment behind the story. When I read the story of the Good Samaritan, and the man who asks Jesus, in order to justify himself, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus proceeds to tell him the person that would most likely be the most difficult for him to love, is his neighbor, I am convincted. I am convicted that though the threat of one’s safety may be a legitimate concern, though the fear of the unknown of someone from a differing culture–that seems so vastly strange in comparison with my own!–is an intimidating thing to overcome, I am not called to be comfortable.
My fear, as American Christians, we have prioritized our concept of safety above that of the gospel. I am not advocating ignoring common sense. However, I am wondering if there is a certain point when Jesus’ message demands us, as followers, to be on the frontlines of helping those who are being displaced. I am convinced it does.
If you are someone who wants to do something and get involved, check your local area for ways to get plugged in. I started with a simple google search for “refugee centers near me.”
The political debate will always be raging. However, there are things that we can do for people who are already here. Maybe, just maybe, we can start there.