Are you excited about the refugees entering our country? Specifically, the Muslim refugees from countries such as Somalia and Yemen (where President Trump’s executive order to block migrants from these countries was just overturned)? If you say “no,” I understand. I do. Even though Christ promised His followers they would be persecuted and suffer for Him, we still want to be comfortable. I want to be comfortable, too. But our job as Christians is not to be comfortable, it’s to spread the Gospel: that Jesus Christ, God incarnate, looked upon our broken and pitiful state, lived a perfect human life, was tortured upon a cross bearing our sins, so that anyone, anyone who calls upon Him will be saved from eternal separation from him.
We’re told to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15). But, modern politics has made this difficult. As missionaries from the United States, it is difficult for us to enter some of the most unreached and desperate countries, such as Somalia and Yemen. So, you know what God is doing? God is bringing them here. How flipping cool is that?
Now, I’m not saying God caused the wars or the famines that are causing one of the greatest migration of people ever, but God is good. He is redemptive. He pursues. Although the sinfulness of corrupt leaders may be causing millions to be displaced, God is working for redemption. One of the ways, I believe, He is working to redeem and restore is bringing refugees and Muslims to the United States. Although missionaries may be barred from entering Yemen, for example, we are now living literally right next door to these individuals. It saddens me that churches would be eager and willing to spend thousands of dollars and risk their lives to reach a family in Yemen, but when that same family comes to the United States, these same churches protest and close their doors. We must not do this, friends. These individuals have had their spirits broken (we know God is close to the broken-hearted). They are desperate for the Gospel and we can share it with them.
To me, one of the craziest things about Jesus is that he understands. He can empathize. The King of the Universe was born in a filthy and disgusting stable in poverty and fled his home country as a refugee. Jesus can empathize with the refugees because He was one. Jesus loves refugees, and, throughout the Old Testament, God commands Isreal to love the foreigners living among them. In the New Testament, Jesus demands we love our neighbors AND our enemies as ourselves. Do you want to be hungry? Do you want to be cold? Do you want to watch your children be murdered in front of you? NO! Loving our neighbors and enemies as ourselves, then, means ensuring they are not treated a way we would not want to be treated.
Now, I get it. Meeting people who are “different” than us is difficult. They look different, they may speak a different language, we may have no idea what they’re eating. It sounds silly, but these things can be terrifying. I’ve been to nearly 20 countries and have had the privilege of visiting many homes abroad. It feels really, really awkward because we naturally notice the differences instead of the similarities. But we as humans have so much more in common than we do different. Although we don’t speak the same language we all feel joy, we all feel sorrow, we all want a safe world for our children to grow up in. Your new refugee neighbors will need help assimilating to our culture, and you can befriend and help them, and build a friendship along the way.
So, fellow Christians, get excited! Let’s welcome these new neighbors of ours with the same enthusiasm as we would have sending missionaries to their countries. I’m excited to welcome my new neighbors, and am seeking ways to know and support them. I would be more than happy to help you find resources in your community where you could donate time or money to help welcome these refugees.