As a Christian who wants to honour God, and take care of widows and orphans, I'm very divided on my feelings about the whole situation. On one hand, I am cautious, as reports indicate that most of the refugees may not be refugees at all, and in fact a form of soft-invasion by the so-called Islamic State in Syria, which are the very people the refugees are alleged to be running from. When the statistics claim that around 70% of the refugees are fighting age men, it's easy to start to speculate in the soft-invasion direction. Another suspicious factor is the amount of refugees being taken in by countries over the entire world. Just how many people lived in Syria before this mass exodus? There seems to be far more refugees than a country like Syria could have fit to begin with. We need to be wise as serpents, but as innocent as doves, as Jesus cautioned, and Pastor Jason Landers reiterated in his post on the refugee situation. He brought up the point that God has given us a duty to protect those in our immediate care, whether that is our family, or our country. Are we being compassionate to those in our immediate care if we put them at risk? It's something to think and pray about.
On the other hand, what about caring about widows, orphans and aliens in our land? What about giving a cup of water, shelter and clothing in the name of the Lord? Jesus said that what we do to the least of these, we do to Him, and what we don't do unto the least of these, we don't do for Him. This is a toughy eh? Here we have scriptural evidence for caution, and for compassion. And as I recently watched a World Vision video featuring Canadian children welcoming Syrian refugee children, my heart went out to them, as I was reminded of Jesus words,
Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. (Matthew 19:14 NIV)
So what am I saying? That we should greet everyone with open arms who decides to come here? Or on the other end of the scale, am I claiming that we should reject everyone claiming to be a refugee? I can assure you I am not advocating the former or the latter. What I am advocating is something I have advocated on this blog before, and will continue to in my life: let the Holy Spirit guide you.
Listen, in all things in life, there is a level and balance of caution and compassion, and those levels will vary from situation to situation. And there is no way in ourselves that we can formulate, or intuitively know, what the appropriate levels in a given situation are. What we need to do is ask God every single time we are faced with a decision, and let Him guide us on how to proceed.
God created the people who are coming from Syria. Some may have hidden agendas, and some may very well be a part of elaborate schemes to destroy our country, its people and its values. But some of them will be those seeking refuge from the very same things we are suspicious of. We have to be willing to let God work through us to minister to these people as He sees fit. And this doesn't just mean ministering to those who are legitimate asylum seekers, it means ministering to those whose sole purpose is malicious as well. God wants to see those people saved as much as the true refugees. This is a witnessing opportunity we could have never dreamed of. Admittedly most of us wouldn't have wanted to dream of this. Often times we ask the Lord of the Harvest to bring people into His Kingdom, but we're only willing to help if the people He sends our way are people we're comfortable with.
And here's a note on our country and family's safety: if you are mad at your government for threatening your security, then you have placed your security in something other than Jesus. Your security in Jesus can't be threatened. Additionally the security God gives is His security. He has the right to give it to whoever He pleases. And He has the right to put people in the same “safe zone” as you if He wants to, even if you don't like it.
If you are suspicious of all refugees because of a few, or even many, radicals, I understand, I am suspicious too. But unless we treat all individuals (even individuals we suspect of being of a certain group) on an individual basis, then we are by definition, being prejudice: judging before we know the facts about that person, not their group.
Be wise as serpents; innocent as doves. Give a cup of water in the Lord's name. Don't prevent the children from coming to God, and sharing in the safety He has given you. But above all, ask God to direct you on how to feel, think, and respond to this present crisis.
Caution and compassion is a balance. Why not ask the one who created the laws of gravity and balance, to draw you into His balance here too?
I pray we can respond the way the Lord is calling us each individually to, as well as in our countries, and in this world.