The Christian Response to Refugees

I want to begin this short post by saying that I am not talking about how government should handle the refugee crisis. I believe that it is a noble government’s responsibility to look after the security of its citizens first and foremost. As this situation is almost unparalleled in recent history—there are no easy answers from a political perspective. What I am talking about below is how the Christian individual should respond to the approximately 3 million souls expelled from their homeland.

A true Christian is a Christian first before he is anything else.  A Christian can be an American and love his country tremendously, even give his life for his country (as many have)--But he is a Christian before he is an American. His identity is in Christ; not in his citizenship, career, nationality, or anything else. This is fundamental to what we believe.

If this is true, then I am surprised by the response of many American Christians regarding the current refugee crisis. I see a lot of “close the boarders to all Muslims” or this is “not our problem” rhetoric that seems inconsistent with a Christian worldview. Should we be concerned about our safety and the safety of our families? Absolutely. Could evil men high jack the refugee crisis making it a real threat to the West? For sure (in fact they already have). So what is the problem?

The problem is that many Christians are viewing this crisis as Americans first and as Christians second. I see this in the fearful responses about the possible negative outcomes that would come in supporting the refugees. I see this in the isolationist mantra to not get involved. But I see it most in the lack of compassion. Where is the heart break in the American church? Where is the cry for justice? Where is the mercy?

I think that there is a chance that some of us (myself included) have forgotten who we were before we were found by Christ. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:19, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Do you see it? We too were once refugees. Lost and without a home. We too were strangers in a foreign land, but by the grace of God and the cornerstone of Jesus Christ we are now members of the household of God.

Let me again clarify that I do NOT believe this should be our government policy. All I am saying is that we have to remember who we were before Christ. We need to identify with the refugee not vilify him. We need to see the world through the eyes of the mother who has lost her husband in war torn Syria. We need to show compassion to the orphan who has lost his family and his home. Why? Because that is what we were.

What is the correct response? Instead of suspecting each of the 3 million refugees as potential terrorists, I propose that we have true compassion for them. May we weep for them. May we truly pray for their physical safety and their ultimate salvation. Also let us financially support organizations like Samaritans Purse who are going out and meeting the legitimate needs of these people who are just like you and me. 

Let’s stop living as Americans first, but as adopted sons and daughters who know what it is like to be a refugee all to well.

Watch this video from Samaritans Purse

Comments

  1. Good point. We are citizens of Christ's kingdom before we are citizens of the United States. Certainly, as Christians, we should feel great compassion for refugees. But that does not mean that we should simply advocate for our government to bring in more Syrian refugees. We should be on the front lines of advocating for our government to help stabilize Syria. This refugee crisis is unsustainable for Europe and for America. We must make a difference on the ground in Syria. As Christians, we need to show our government that we are not indifferent but passionate for peace for the people of Syria. As Christian, we cannot turn a blind eye to the Assad regime's genocide and the Islamic State's terrorism and pretend we are people of justice and compassion.

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  2. Yes, I agree. And I was not speaking to what the government's responses should say but the Christian individual. Good points about advocating for stabilization. Here is a good article by Kevin DeYoung about the complexity of this immigrant issue from a governmental policy perspective:

    http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2015/11/17/immigration-policy-must-be-based-on-more-than-an-appeal-to-compassion/

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