Today the world is facing one of its biggest problems and no, it is not global warming but the refugee crisis. According to research, approximately 19.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge abroad. Recently talks about resettling refugees, especially Syrian refugees, has been a hot topic around the country with so many people spewing so much hate while others haphazardly agree when it is convenient and disagree when they are in the minority.
While we live in the comfort of our own homes, millions of children are going to bed hungry with barely a proper place to rest their broken bodies or even a simple meal. I am sure you are thinking to yourself, but we also have people in our own country that go without every day, so how about them? Of course, there are thousands of people that go without daily but there are also people that are caught in between political wars that they played no part in, these people are the world’s forgotten people, the unwanted ones, these people are called refugees. We claim we are a nation under God yet we have decided that the biblical principle “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31) does not apply to these refugees. As Christians, we are called to love as Jesus loved, not shun the ones we feel do not deserve our love and embrace people we think are more similar to us. I would like to share some biblical passages that encourage believers to love and care for people that are in need.
Luke 10:30-37, Jesus shared the parable of the good samaritan. In this parable, Jesus explains to his disciples how a Samaritan went above and beyond to render help to a man he had never met up until that fateful encounter. We are called to express such care because we do not know the turmoils these refugees must have encountered. We do not know them from Adam but that must not hinder our ability to reach out and love on complete strangers.
Hebrews 13:2, In this verse, the Hebrews are instructed to entertain strangers because they might entertain angels without even realizing it. Granted, we cannot just jump into conclusion calling these refugees in search of a new place to call home angels, but as Christians, it is important that we see the good in people. Besides, there are extensive screenings conducted before refugees are allowed into new places especially in the United States.
James 2:14-17, “Faith without works cannot be called faith,” one must back his or her faith with action. Yes, we must pray for people caught in war zones but at the same time, if we are given the opportunity to embrace and welcome them into our homes or better yet our communities, we should put forth more than just words, however, we must do so with wisdom. We must match our words with our actions, not bash them for believing differently than we do or worshipping differently than we do.
Psalm 146: 9, a portion of this psalm states that the Lord watches over strangers and relieves the fatherless and the widows. The sole victims in these senseless wars are children who become orphans and are left to fend for themselves. The Bible has always assured us that God cares for the orphans and becomes a father to the fatherless. We can use this as a call to love like our God loves and just pour out into the lives of refugees that are in desperate need.
Leviticus 19: 33-34, In these verses we are instructed on how to treat foreigners and reference are made to when the Israelites were foreigners in Egypt. This is especially important for me because I was once a foreigner in the United States and by the Grace of God I received the treatment I believe I deserved. God loves the native born and the foreigner equally and pushing them out or turning a blind eye to their plea just because they are of a different religion will not make God love them any less.
I write this with a heavy heart as I have been following the migrant crisis issue very closely and the images that are emerging from these areas are heart wrenching, and I believe this message was placed on my heart and I just had to share in writing. I pray that whatever negative thoughts, feelings or sentiments we have towards people that are different from us be transformed into genuine love and affection towards them. May we seek wisdom in applying the mandate to love our neighbors as ourselves and we may respond with a heart to love.
Anna Sylva is currently majoring in international studies with emphasis on development. She is a firm believer that we are God's hands and feet; and through us the world will get to experience Christ and his amazing love. It is her dream to use both her career and gift of writing as a platform to reach people from all over the world for Christ.