There has been much talk on social media this week about the Syrian Refugee Crisis. And I’ve held off on chiming in for as long as I could. But at this point, I can no longer remain silent. Because frankly, I’m mad.
I’ve seen a disturbing trend from many of my Christian brothers & sisters: deriving their worldview from Fox News instead of Scripture. Particularly on this issue; but I’m afraid it’s systemic of a larger problem.
It started with a series of memes I saw posted by several friends on Facebook. They all said basically the same thing: “If a bowl of M&Ms/gum balls had 10% of the candy poisoned with cyanide, would you be willing to grab a handful and shove it in your mouth?”
Or worse, a photo of dozens of rattlesnakes with the caption: “Can you tell me which of these rattlesnakes won’t bite you? Sure some of them won’t, but tell me which ones so we can bring them into the house.”
The issue I take with both of these memes is that the refugees are not M&Ms or rattlesnakes. They are image-bearers of God. And those Christians who have posted them, and with whom I have engaged in discussion, cannot (or will not) defend their position from Scripture.
This is why I think many are getting their worldview from Fox News. They are acting from fear. And fear is never the response Scripture will cause in the heart of the believer.
Joel McDurmon wrote earlier today:
I would simply add that to be afraid of an entire people group is simply racism. And there is no room for racism in the Christian worldview: “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both [Israel AND the nations] one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14 ESV).
Politics v. Gospel
There are two issues here: politics and the Gospel. And if we confuse or blur the lines between the two, we will likely arrive at an unbiblical position. I can almost guarantee you that American politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are simply doing what they think they need to do to keep their constituents satisfied (read, “in order for them to be re-elected”).
And make no mistake: Fox News wants certain candidates to be our next President. And that certainly impacts what they say.
But should this affect (or determine) the Christian’s worldview?
No! The only factor that should hold sway in how Christians view this issue is what God has said. So…what has God said?
Welcome the Stranger
You Go, and Do Likewise
Is it scary? Yeah! It’s terrifying to think that there may be a stream of people coming into “our” land and among them may be those who intend us harm.
But Jesus told His disciples, “…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28 ESV; c.f., Luke 12:4).
Klinton Silvey wrote a few days ago, “For years and years and years it has been nearly impossible to get missionaries (even sneakily) into parts of the Middle East. It’s so dangerous, some, assuming they can even get in, are likely to be killed so quickly they can’t do much evangelizing. And now, hundreds of thousands of beaten, hurting, orphaned, widowed (google “pure and undefiled religion) and broken people are trying to come to US.”
Why would we not as Christians rejoice at this opportunity to “do justice, and to love kindness” (Micah 6:8)? Why would we simply say, “‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body” (James 2:16)?
“…whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…” (Matthew 7:12).
To me this seems to be a no-brainer. You and I were refugees, and not only did Christ welcome us, He died because of us. Are we willing to lay our lives down for the Gospel? Based on the response I’ve seen on social media this week, the answer is kind of discouraging.
But at the very least, if you don’t agree with me (and I would argue, if you don’t agree with the Bible) on this issue, will you please pray for the image bearers of God who are part of ISIS? Will you pray for the Syrian refugees? And ask God to help you to see them as He sees them?
God of Mercy, You have welcomed me—not only a refugee, but a rebel. May my heart not be like the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35), or the Pharisee who looked down upon the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14), but like the Savior, Who, while we were still sinners, died for us (Romans 5:8). May I have this mind in me, which is mine in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:1-11). In Christ’s name. Amen.