I know a lot of people think I am a naive woman, and maybe I am. I was born and raised in America, “The Land of the Free.” Sure, America has racism, sexism, inequality, marginalization, abuse, poverty, sickness, and pain. Americans are not immune to tragedy, loss, and fear.
Yet, we are a blessed nation. We are blessed enough to be a bit naive and a bit “too brave” and maybe even a bit cocky sometimes. Sure, this can annoy the world, but the world can only be so annoyed with us if we use our privilege to help them when they need it.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)
If you grew up in church like I did then you probably remember singing, “He’s got the whole world in His hands, He’s got the whole world in His hands, He’s got the whole world in His hands, He’s got the whole world in His hands.” I tear up a little thinking about my tiny little self doing the motions and yelling it out like I really believed it.
There is a reason Jesus told us to be “like little children.”
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3)”
So many of us are walking away from “American Christianity” because it is too inward focused. It becomes about protecting ourselves more than others. We don’t only see this when world explosions are happening; we see this in our local churches.
We see Christian “abuse scandals” and we go inward. How can we fix this? We don’t want the Christian family to look bad. What can we do to hide this? Spin this?
In a way, this is cool because it shows that Christians really do care about their “family name” and our love of grace and each other, but we forget that there is a whole big world out there, watching us and waiting for us to take responsibility and do what is good and right.
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows (Isaiah 1:17)
The world doesn’t need us to pray for them if we are unwilling to meet their most basic needs. A homeless woman doesn’t need you to pray that someone gives her a warm bed to sleep in, if you have a bed she can sleep in at your home. I know, this makes me cringe, too.
Radical “Jesus love” is risky and hard, isn’t it?
If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also (Luke 6:29)
We have to trust our gut, of course, and can’t just take anyone into our space, but we must be open with what the Spirit is saying to us about each individual person we meet who is making their need known to us.
There are seasons to take in stragglers and there are seasons not to, but don’t allow fear to dictate those seasons.
When I was a toddler, my mom met a black homeless man on the street. She had two pre-school girls at home and my dad was gone a lot in that life season. When she took the time to talk with the man, she felt his spirit and knew he was good. He needed a place to sleep, so my mom brought him home.
Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it (Hebrews 13:2)
And some people say women don’t reflect the courageous image of God!
In fact, the only extra bed we had was my sister’s extra bunk bed, so mom not only brought a strange man into our home, but she bunked him with my sister! But, mom knew in her spirit it was OK and slept in peace.
The next morning she woke up to find the black man and my sister having a “tea party.” It was OK. My sister was not only safe, she was happy and having fun with her new friend.
I am a beginner in politics as of right now, but I do understand Jesus and the Bible. I don’t know the proper ways to “vet” and “screen” refugees, but I do know my spirit says, “LET SOME IN.” I know that we cannot let them all in. I know we have to be wise. I know this is scary stuff and ISIS is no joke. I know all the “fearful,” but equally “wise,” reasons not to.
I guess I am not as naive as I once was. I guess the hardships in my own life have made my heart softer. I know what it is like to be sick in a warm bed, with good food, surrounded by people who love me. I can’t imagine what it is like to be sick, pregnant, hungry, in pain, and petrified in a refugee camp.
People are resilient and God is ultimately in control, so I choose not to fear. As Christians, let’s be smart, but let’s be FOR taking in SOME Syrian refugees. My heart says begin with the women and children. We can’t give everyone a safe place to lay their head, but we can share our homeland with some.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matthew 25:35)
For more Christian responses to current events, follow Jory Micah’s blog
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“Radical “Jesus love” is risky and hard, isn’t it?”
How is this radical now? Isn’t this the norm in the BIBLE? Isn’t the christmas story about giving shelter to foreigners? And so many more examples….. this is why the world sees christians as hypocrites. As an atheist, this is why I know that most believers are just in it for the traditions of family.
The Christmas story was based on Jos and Mary returning to their own country for a census. Then it was about God loving you and I so much He allowed Jesus to come into this world and eventually take our place on the cross. Doesn’t make us perfect. Our righteousness comes bc Christ is righteous and we put on His righteousness. I have been radically changed. When I was an atheist Christ revealed Himself to me, it doesn’t mean I suspend my thinking, it does mean I consider these people. I do help but the god (Allah) of Islam wants people to die for Him. Jesus is God and He chose to die for us… idk what the “right” thing to do is… would you bring these people into your home. Can we ask our neighbors to bring these people into their towns?
Im sorry your disappointed in Christians, I am often disappointed too. (yes, even in myself). Having faith in Christ doesn’t mean I don’t struggle, it means I have grace to live a joyful life. Even in the midst of an evil world. Only when Christ returns will this world be renewed. I asked Christ into my heart 30 yrs ago… and He came. Can’t always explain it well but it sure did do a number on this former atheist.
Enjoy this holiday season, open your eyes a little wider to the wonders of this world. In its midst is a beauty you may be missing. God bless, andrea
That’s a shame that you see Christians that way, but I understand it. There are some who really do live out their faith in a God of love and compassion and goodness. Hopefully more will rise up! 🙂
We already take in millions of refugees. All of S.America’s come to the USA. I don’t have a problem with them. I think its a wonderful mission field. I’d like us to take the truly persecuted, Christians and Yizidis. Except the Yizidis believe that if you leave their group you deserve death. Much like the honor killings that are accepted in many Muslim nations. These people come here after being covered head to toe and find women strolling down the beach almost nude. Their children would begin to take on American ways… thats not going to end well for anyone. Yes, if refugees understand that we are a freedom loving country and they cannot live by their own laws. But how many Americans have to die to say God sets governments power. There is nothing wrong with having borders and it is the gov’t job to protect their citizens. Why won’t the Middle Eastern countries take in these people? We have given billions and it is never enough. Allow Christians NGOs to go in and help them and evangelize them, if they won’t accept help on our terms, then they won’t assimilate into our country.
Like you I want to help but I am not foolish enough to believe they will accept us. Help them but don’t bring “other gods” into our fold. We have enough to deal with today.
I am all about compassion and helping those in danger and need; however, the refugee crisis is very suspect. Why are so many Islamic countries looking the other way? Why has it been reported that the majority of refugees are war aged men (17 to 45)? Why is Saudi Arabia only willing to provide mosques for these people as they travel to European countries but not willing to take them in? Why is our current administration zealous about bringing in these refugees but nonchalant about demanding the release of American citizens being held captive in Islamic countries? Why is there so little discussion about Christian persecution worldwide at the hand of Islamic Jihadists? I could go on. All that to say, there is reason to stop and think before flooding our country with those who may not mean us well. Is our government equipped to actually vet thousands of people in a short amount of time. Great damage can be done with even one mistake of letting in the wrong one or two. Look at what the Boston Marathon bombers were able to do. All that being said, I am a Christian, and whoever comes into my neighborhood, I will embrace them with the love of Christ. My feet will be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. What the devil means for evil, God can and will use if for good.
Thanks for sharing Leah! You ask some legit questions.
Actually a lot of her questions are typical fearmongering talking points and have been roundly debunked by nonpartisan sites already. I know my comments have been put into the moderation queue so IDK if they’ll ever see the light of day but I hope that you at least see them and that it gives you pause.
I… don’t really understand why the above comment was put through immediately but the others weren’t lol. Maybe it was due to the links? Oh well. The links I used were just debunking the false assertion that Muslim countries weren’t doing their part to take in refugees and that the majority of refugees were able-bodied young men.
BTW, upon rereading, I realize that my previous replies could be interpreted that I’m accusing you of deliberately moderating my comments, I don’t think that’s the case! I’ve read your other blog posts so I know you don’t have an issue with disagreement. I’m assuming that the moderator queue is just automatically triggered whenever someone posts a link, so that you can ascertain that it’s not spam or a virus.
Hi Julie. Sorry for the hold up. The comments were not going through because of the links. I just updated this so that one can put up to five links on their comment without it getting held back (as long as there are not technical difficulties) 🙂
Hi Jory, it’s okay, I get why you might want to vet links first to make sure that it’s not spam or a virus.
“Why has it been reported that the majority of refugees are war aged men (17 to 45)? ”
Well, mostly because the GOP candidates fearmongering about this have been lying out the wazoo: http://www.politifact.com/new-hampshire/statements/2015/nov/20/carly-fiorina/fiorina-says-vast-majority-syrian-refugees-are-abl/
“Why are so many Islamic countries looking the other way?”
This also isn’t true. Sure, there are some rich Gulf countries refusing to lift a finger. But the vast majority of refugees are actually being taken in by majority Muslim countries: http://www.vox.com/world/2015/11/23/9779066/syrian-refugees-middle-east
I desperately want to help the refugees and others in need, bit in this case there is just so much more to it. We have innocents here in America to protect as well. It only takes a few to hurt si many is it right to risk their lives. Honestly my heart hurts that we have to even consider this, but in our world unfortunately we cannot afford to be naive. Either way is not an easy decision. The only real issue I have is people who try to make me feel like a monster for having concerns or like I’m being a horrible christian. That I do not appreciate
I understand your concerns Kaitlynn. 🙂
Okay, but: https://twitter.com/MuslimIQ/status/668659615341547521
I know the statistics. Linking to them does not address my very real concerns. The jewish people unlike the syrian refugees were not possibly terrorists. It was a completely different situation and just because we made a bad decision once does not mean making the opposite choice in a “similar ” situation. Guilting people instead of dealing with the legitimate concerns is just wrong. We need to have a true discussion instead of throwing accusations at each other.
I think we should let some Syrian refugees into America because Jesus was a refugee, and Jesus IS STILL the refugee. “For whatever you did to the least of these, you did to me.”