You know the story of the guest pastor who visited a church in shabby attire, unshaven and maybe even unshowered? Churchgoers sidestepped him and certainly didn’t seat him at the front, so imagine their surprise/shame when he got up to give the sermon.
It’s a good example of the authenticity of our Love, and while Love shouldn’t be swayed by sight, any flesh and blood wrapped in labels like “Refugee” -“Homeless” -“Foreigner” -“Moocher” -“Homosexual” -“Annoying Friend,” will test our hearts.
Do we love because we want to, or because we ‘must?’ If the latter, is that really love?
Regarding refugees, aka fellow humans, I’ve heard many harsh remarks from people claiming to be “Christian.”
“We don’t have enough resources to care for them all..”
“They’re only here for financial gain..”
“They will take over and kill us..”
“..Our people first..”
With a world full of people not wanting anything to do with God or Jesus because of experiences they had with “Church,” or “Christians,” I thought a small debunking was in order.
1. “Our people first..” Jesus 101 says treat others as we want to be treated–with love manifesting in kindness, patience, respect, gentleness…. In addition, God so identifies with people that He* puts it at a one-to-one basis, that is, what someone does to you, they do to God (Matthew 25:40). So we should all be on guard for shutting out or refusing to care for any person.
2. “We don’t have enough resources to care for them all..”
For Christians worried about lack of provision, let’s remember: God is God, right? All Sufficient One, Jehovah Jireh-the Provider, the Original Maker of Something out of Nothing. Just look at how many thousands were fed by the packed lunch of a little boy. Talk about Kingdom Economics. Let’s boost our faith by actually testing God’s Love for mankind. There’s no shortage of examples of God providing through an outstretched ’empty hand..’ (remember the widow and the oil? or the book of Acts? or Corrie Ten Boom when one of her captors came looking for forgiveness? I’ve got personal examples too–God returning things to me, even to the exact amount, if not more. Maybe you’ve experienced a few miracles yourself…?)
3. “They’re only here for financial gain..”
To those complaining that refugees are actually coming for financial gain, I wonder: when did dreaming of a better life become a shame? That’s how American was formed.. a nation founded on immigration and hopes of a better life. If people are looking for financial gain, so what–Doesn’t every loving dad want to buy his daughter a dress? Doesn’t every loving parent want to give his child the best chances? What would you want for your children?
And if we’re privileged enough to not be on the move, aren’t we blessed so we can bless others (Genesis 12:2)?
4. “They will take over and kill us..”
For those afraid refugees will enter a country–after extremely long bureaucratic procedures, sometimes lasting many years–, and be on a mission to kill others, as expressed in the Trump camp Syrian-Skittle analogy above, this Facebook response sums up God’s Blazing Heart pretty well, imho:
Someone tweeted, “Jesus was a Refugee,” and I realized he was– seeking refuge in Egypt as a baby. But even as an adult, by today’s standards he was certainly homeless (Matthew 8:20), and knew what it was like to be on the run, a “vagabond” drifting from house to house, town to town. He ate at people’s homes and used their resources. When people visit and receive hospitality, they’re usually called guests, but on a bad day, or with media spin, that person might be called a mooch. Words really do create reality…
Some bible-toting Republicans would fight to keep him from having healthcare coverage, along with the little children that ran after him. They’d prefer to see that mooching, Disturber of the Peace jailed, because at least there is some profit.
What do you think? Do we need to experience something firsthand before our hearts are broken about it? The social experiment with the cold homeless boy begging in NYC says yes. The only person who came alongside him was a homeless man himself. (If you haven’t seen this clip, it’s worth it!)
But short of first hand experience, we have imagination and pictures of real-life suffering. If war raged in our land, or corruption abounded, if there was no freedom to believe in God as we wanted, and we felt we had no choice but to flee, losing family along the way, seeing little ones gobbled up for exploitation, or washing up ashore, if we were homeless, crushed in spirit, or carrying any label other than “HUMAN,” how would we want people to treat us??
God notices even when someone gives a cup of water (Matthew 10:42), so how much more the acts of kindness and/or self-sacrifice that may stretch us but are so needed in this hurting world?
Let’s be diligent to see one another as brothers and sisters made by God, regardless of social standing, race, country of origin, sexual orientation, religious preference, gender, even political affiliation…
Underneath everything, aren’t we all just flesh and blood?
“..when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him… the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” [Not: You read every word of the Bible, attended every church service, tithed 10% and prayed and fasted…]
Feature Image: “Invisible Homeless” – Luke Jerram, photo Mark Simmons
More on Prisons for Profit in an article entitled “Justice is Not for Sale…” here.