Dear friends, neighbors, and church members:
I’m sorry to say that today, I’ve observed some very ugly things being spoken and written about refugees from Syria.
I want to remind those of us who are Christians of a few very important Scriptural points:
1. God is love. And perfect love casts out fear. When we judge people out of fear, and not love, we aren’t reflecting the heart of our God.
2. Throughout Scripture, we encounter God’s commands to welcome and care for the immigrant.
3. Jesus himself was a refugee. In the face of violence from their government, he, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt and made a temporary home there.
4. Jesus counted an immigrant from an enemy nation in his own family tree – check out the book of Ruth and Matthew 1. So you see, “love your enemies” and “welcome the stranger” are literally part of Jesus’ DNA. Doesn’t that mean they should both be part of ours, too?
I know that the world is a scary place. I’m scared, too, sometimes. And I know that we have to be wise in taking care of the vulnerable people within our own borders, even as we welcome others into our homeland. But let’s also remember that God doesn’t see our borders the same way we do. God doesn’t care more for “us” than for “them.” God only sees beloved children in need, fleeing from violence and despair. And Jesus says that when we welcome the stranger, we welcome him.
So even if you’re not quite ready to welcome these strangers into your home, won’t you begin welcoming them into your prayers, and into your heart? The Holy Spirit can guide us from there.