I get the fear.
It’s scary to think that someone could destroy a hundred or a thousand peoples’ lives in one second. I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. I would do anything in my power to save people from that.
And that is what is happening in Syria. Hundreds and thousands of peoples’ lives are being destroyed, so they are fleeing.
Courageous men are taking their sweet wives and children and fleeing.
Single men who have hope and visions for a future are fleeing.
Mourning women whose husbands have already died are fleeing.
Scared children who have no parents are fleeing.
These vulnerable people are at the mercy of their global neighbors. They are fleeing and asking for help.
Who will say yes? Who will love their neighbor?
“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.””
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27
In college, my friends and I travelled to Oklahoma a couple times for a college missions conference. It was here that we prayed for the nations, where we heard courageous stories from missionaries who were serving and loving Muslims in closed countries. We heard about dreams and miracles and people coming to Christ. Lives changed. Our prayer was that more people would be able to go and share the good news. Here we are! Send us!
Many of those we have been praying for are now asking to come into our country. They’re asking to settle into our neighborhoods- they’re asking to be our local neighbors. They’re asking for food and shelter and an opportunity to flee from danger. The ones we’ve been praying for- they’re here. But we’re afraid. So we tell them to go away. Go somewhere else. We’re not willing to help you. We have a life here that’s good and we don’t want that messed up. But be blessed- we hope you will be well-fed and clothed.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. -James 2:14-17
It’s time, Church. It’s time to step up and to do the right thing even if we’re afraid. It’s time to say yes even while we’re still nervous and wondering. The fear is going to be there for awhile, trust me, but it’s only going to go away by continuing to say yes, by continuing to read these passages of Scripture, by turning off the fear-mongering media channels, by praying, by reaching to the refugees IN YOUR CITY and getting to know someone who has had to flee.
Note: the picture above was NOT taken in Syria, but in Turkey. While in Turkey, we met many people from all over- Iraq, Iran, and Syria. This is as close as I’ve been, so I choose to use this picture to share my affinity for the people groups that the Syrian refugees represent.