As you would have them do unto You

Posted on November 23, 2015


I think it is important that I make it public what this Christian thinks about the Syrian refugee crisis and the idea of letting more refugees into the United States.

I also think it is important that I let you know that my answer is not a simple one, the result of hot-headed emotion. There have also been many, many, many articles read and many, many, hours spent in prayer. There have been many contradictory emotions that I plan to share with you for the sake of openness about my own flaws and hesitations, and for the sake of avoiding trite answers.

My first gut instinct, the result of pictures of dying and dead children, is that we should continue to take in refugees.

I have read multiple articles detailing the refugee immigration process. These are not refugees who started knocking down our door a week ago in an attempt to sneak in- they have been waiting for weeks and months, destitute, and without homes. There are many families who after all this waiting have been turned away from the states they thought they would finally be able to settle down in (I know this happened in Indiana, at least, just last week). All of our talk of closing down our various states’ borders has worked, and immediately impacted at the very least a three person family that was siphoned from Indiana to Connecticut. These are facts.

It is also a fact that it was the passport of a Syrian refugee (or someone claiming to be one) that led to real, physical, horrific terrorist attack in Paris. More than 140 real lives, ended. It is a fact that ISIS has made threats towards the United States, and has included threats to sneak in terrorists under the guise of refugees.

My second gut instinct? I am afraid.

And I don’t think that the fact that I am afraid means that ISIS wins. I think this means I am human, and I also think it means that I am a smart, rational, realistic human with an instinct to survive.

Now it is time for me to pray.

I have seen many analogies lately comparing Jesus to Syrian refugees. You know, the whole, “If only we had a seasonally appropriate story about Middle Eastern people seeking refuge being turned away with no place to lay their head.” This is actually not the first time this analogy has been made. The first person to make this analogy was JESUS HIMSELF.

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:35-40

And perhaps even MORE convicting:

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:45 (emphasis mine)

I do not think that it is foolish to let the pre-screened Syrian refugees into the United States. I do not think it is foolish to be afraid that even one person could manipulate the system, and bring death to our country. But as a Christian, it would be immensely foolish of me to ignore Jesus’ multiple, very direct commands to treat others as I want to be treated; even more- to treat others as I would treat HIM!

For a chance to serve Jesus, I would rather welcome 9,999 refugees and 1 terrorist than welcome no one at all. As refugees rejected across the country begin trickling into the state where I live, my goal moving forward is to act as though Jesus Himself is coming here.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:22-24

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