Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Helping Refugees: A Biblical Perspective

If I was a refugee, and especially a child, and I was rejected by nations and people I perceived to be Christian, I might hate Christians. If a country or leader refused to allow me into their state, I might learn to hate America, or Christians, or both. Resentment and anger could sprout seeds and grow in the manure of selfish politics and fear. But what if they Fed me? Clothed me? Educated me? Loved me? How would I feel then? Would I wonder what is so different about the God they serve? Would I love the state and country that took me in and showed me kindness?

Sometimes the Bible tells us EXACTLY what to do. How should we treat foreigners and refugees in need? Politics aside, God has made His position crystal clear. How much more should we show the love of Jesus to Muslims. What an incredible opportunity for evangelism. While the United States does not have a covenant with God the way that Israel did, His perspective toward refugees is made abundantly clear in the instructions they received.

And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. -Deuteronomy 10:19
Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. -Exodus 22:21
The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. -Leviticus 19:34
These people have escaped oppression and while they are to be expected to follow every law of the United States, Here is what God says about those REFUGEES who have escaped such oppression and are seeking refuge among us:
If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand them over to their master. Let them live among you wherever they like and in whatever town they choose. Do not oppress them. -Deuteromony 23:15-16
And...churches should pay for their keep out of the tithe because God established the tithe to take care of them:
You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor, and your needy in your land. -Deuteronomy 15:11 Notice the term "your," indicating that the poor and needy are our responsibility.
"At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town." The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the foreigner, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do....Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge". (Deuteronomy 14:28-29, 24:17) Give them what God says belongs to them

It is true, that there is nothing new under the sun. Ancient Israel was repeatedly harmed by a nation full of terrorists, the Assyrians. Jonah was given the task of preaching to them. He was reluctant, in part because of their evil and the harm they had done. But God had a different viewpoint:

"Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"

By ministering to them, not only was the city, including their many children who didn't know right from wrong, spared because they repented, but we do not know how much relief and protection Israel may have received in the short term as a result of Jonah's actions. Only God knows. The fact is, that God cared for those people and the children of the terrorists, just as he cares for the refugees, especially the children and we should have compassion.

If you are concerned about terrorists sneaking in with and as Refugees, so am I. Pray. Witness. Show them the love of Christ. Keep wary eyes open, but show them kindness and the love of Christ. Prove that they have been told lies about not only our nation, but about Christians and the God that we serve. I am not saying that America is a truly Christian nation, but God has promised His blessing to Christians for our obedience and if that obedience brings blessing or protection to our nation, then all the better. It is HIS job to protect us. It is OUR job to protect those refugees and to care for them. Whatever position our government takes, Christians must be compassionate. I encourage you to meditate on the following verses today, especially if you live in America, perhaps the most blessed nation on earth:

"Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same." Luke 3:11

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? James 2:15-16

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