#TalkingThursday – If you don’t talk about Jesus who will?
Dear Reader, Hello! Today’s #TalkingThursday continues on from last week’s topic: Responding To ISIS. There we took a jab at the christian response to terrorism on these three fronts:
A – To ISIS
B – To The Refugee Crisis
C – To Closing Borders
Last week we dealt with parts A & B and we’re concluding this week dealing with part C. This is going to be quite a lengthy post, so I’ll just jump right into it. Once again, I can’t promise a solution, just a thorough rundown of the matters arising which incorporates an eternal perspective as much as possible.
Responding To Closing Borders
Now this is where the lines are really blurry. There’s a flurry of chatter about whether or not it’s right for countries to close their borders, particularly in light of the fact that it was discovered that one of the suicide bombers in paris came into the country as a refugee.
Do we as christians, agree that the government should close our country’s borders to refugees and not settle them amongst us?
When christians discuss the refugee crisis, there’s usually some aside about the importance of taking every necessary security measure. There’s no doubt that the vast majority of displaced persons are simply looking for peace and a new chance at life but there’s also the increasing concern that there may also be a small number of extremists waiting in the same line?
So now we’re faced with a dilemma.
Is it unChristian to not want radical jihadists shooting people in our communities? How do we balance competing goods — the good of welcoming in suffering people and the good of keeping out those who want to inflict suffering on others?
The answer is not as easy as fear versus compassion.
The four million refugees who have fled Syria are among the most love-starved people in the world. They have been forced to flee their homes. They have left family members behind, often in graves. They have left their communities. They have nothing, and wherever they go no one wants them. In Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and most places in the West, many Syrian refugees are mostly unwanted.
However, seeing as ISIS has promised to send more bombers disguised as refugees. It’s not unreasonable to think that in some cases supplying refugee camps with humanitarian aid or protecting safe havens elsewhere is a more responsible approach that avoids the risks of immediate resettlement and that seems to be the sentiment echoed by the commenter below:
“ There’s a difference when Jesus’ words are applied individually to our personal lives, versus that of a nation. A nation, for example, has the right to defend itself and its borders, so “Do not kill” doesn’t apply to a soldier in the US Army. A nation has an obligation to protect its citizenry, and although America has been a huge defender of the orphaned, widowed, and poor, accepting refugees and being the shelter from the storm to millions of refugees and the oppressed, to call us “unloving” if we opt to show wisdom and prudence (very Biblical, by the way, unless you no longer read the Old Testament Proverbs), is in my opinion, very misleading to other believers who DESIRE to be loving, compassionate Christians.
David said in Psalm 18, “You have made my enemies turn their backs to me and I destroyed those who hated me.”
Israel, God’s chosen Nation, was a nation with borders, with protective, robust walls around their cities, and they were permitted to defend themselves, not say, “Oh, come on in. We LOVE our enemies. Come kill our families, we won’t mind. Here’s some snap cards and $1,000 to get you settled….” Um. No.
Christians aren’t supposed to be STUPID. We’re to be shrewd and wise and have been given the authority to trample on snakes and our enemies. Jesus said that in Matthew 10:16 and Luke 10:19. Come on, man. Get rid of the sloppy theology and quit accusing us Christians of being unloving. It’s not cool and your theology is way off.
These refugees are not our neighbor, yet we are to set a place at our table in their time of need. That does not mean we must dine with our nation’s enimies to show christian charity. The Godly duty of a nation is to provide temporal security to its citizens. I support accepting refugees, but in the light of recent events the call for more assurance is reasonable. ”
On the other hand, a number of U.S leaders have suggested that only Syrian Christians should be accepted as refugees. From our discussions on responding to refugees, we already know that this is clearly the opposite of how Jesus called his followers to act. Jesus said “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them” (Luke 6:27, 32).
Syrian refugees are not even our enemies. They do not hate us. But even if we thought they were, Jesus tells us to love them.
Jesus’ command goes against our instincts. We want to protect ourselves from those who might hurt us. In order to do so we may be willing to withhold our compassion from those who need it most. Yet Jesus calls us to a very different way. He asks us to love our neighbors — regardless if there may be enemies among them.
In case you were wondering; yeah that includes the bombers disguised as refugees too. Kinda sucks doesn’t it.
A few points raised regarding the resettlement of refugees in the west are:
1) There’s no way to vet every refugee and make sure they aren’t wolves disguised in sheep’s clothing. Check out this comment:
“ To all of you who are busy shaming Christians who raise cautions about welcoming the Syrian refugees: it is easy to talk about the risk being small. OK, why don’t you volunteer to open your own home up to a refugee family? Call the State Department today. Can’t afford it? Too dangerous to your children? Not enough room?
Hmmm. Yet you condemn others who raise concerns and cautions. Many of you are simply hypocrites. Jesus came to die to save others and we should follow his example? OK. quit your job, sell your house and move to Syria or Iraq. Until then, you aren’t really “doing what Jesus did” if you just advocate that “the government” should welcome some of the refugees, once they are “vetted,” then feed and house them (but not next door to you of course), and also send some drones to blast ISIS overseas.
You want us to believe “that” policy is “like Jesus” but to suggest that we shouldn’t bring the refugees here is anti-Christian. Seriously? The Good Samaritan helped the hurting guy; he didn’t bring him home to Samaria to live with him.
ISIS is at war with the west. They want to come here and kill as many people as possible. There is no sure way to “vet” every refugee. How is it compassionate to say you love your neighbor while you are putting your actual neighbors in danger by welcoming potential terrorists who have pledged to kill civilians, including women and children, while posing as refugees? I am not against bringing some of these refugees here under certain careful circumstances, but I don’t agree that bringing them to the US is the only way to be compassionate or Christ-like to them.”
This commenter was obviously not coming from a christian standpoint but they do raise an important issue that must be addressed and that’s the vetting of refugees: “There is no sure way to “vet” every refugee.” This is actually a very misinformed statement. All refugees go through an extremely tough vetting process. This document titled: Refugee resettlement – step by step USCRI contains some details on the vetting process for refugees, it is actually very simple to read and understand. Now in such high amounts of incoming refugees at the different borders (nearly 2000 a day!) it might be costly to do this for every refugee, but it is possible nonetheless.
2) Another major concern most people seem to have is that those that come to the United States (western and European countries in general) are going to have a very difficult time assimilating into the culture. It is not Islamic. It is not Arabic. It is not Near Eastern. They can’t speak the language and they will have a difficult time finding employment. Not to say it can’t be done but perhaps the Middle East (Arab Countries) and other culturally related countries should step up and take in some of these refugees? Why isn’t pressure being put on Arab countries like Saudi Arabia to help these people?
Here’s a comment that responds to this:
“ We (i.e. the US) have given Saudi Arabia millions of dollars for humanitarian aid,” Tantaros pointed out, “and we have given the region $4 billion in humanitarian aid. The United States is the most benevolent and generous nation in the world, but this is not our responsibility. It’s time for the Gulf states to step up. ”
Indeed, maybe it would be a good idea for the west to close its borders and encourage more culturally suited countries to take in these refugees. However, we cannot simply ignore them. It is a great opportunity to evangelize to those Muslims that would not normally be evangelized in a country like Syria.
I’ll conclude with my honest opinion. The way I see it, God is opening a door of opportunity to reach people with the gospel; the good news of Christ’s sacrifice. As the saying goes, if Muhammad won’t go to the mountain… If we won’t go on missions to these war ravaged countries, God will literally bring them here, to our doorsteps.
We will miss out on what God is doing if we don’t step out of our feelings to look at the bigger picture. We know there’s nothing God cannot make work in our favour so why can’t we believe in faith that this also includes what’s happening right now?.
God is restoring the division at Babel. Cultural and lingual barriers are slowly being eradicated. We cannot use the excuse that they won’t cope well or that they’d be better off in more culturally suited countries to send them packing. It is a great point but it’s just not good enough. As christians, why would we send anyone to Arab countries where Sharia law is likely in force! God is liberating these people from unfavourable cultures and traditions, we cannot reject them for fear of our own safety. Our responses should come from a place of faith, not fear.
The end of the world is near and no matter how hard we try to protect our countries, our security is ultimately in the hands of God – He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy upon.
The devil is perfectly aware that we would be favourable towards the plight of these refugees. He knows we we’d be compassionate, accept the refugees and preach the gospel to them…just as we have been doing, now all of a sudden there’s a discovery that one of the bombers was a refugee? Oh wow. Too coincidental to be ordinary don’t you think? Brethren, Let’s open our spiritual eyes and not fall captive to the wiles of the enemy.
I say no to closing down borders. How about you?
We hope this series has been edifying to everyone who read it. Let us know what you think in the comments section or via our social media pages using the hashtag: #ISISBorderControl