While a few radical (and misguided) Christians were ranting about some red cups, and most of us were like “huh?” terrorists were attacking. Every minute of every day someone is committing unprovoked attack on others.
A lot of immediate reactions were posted on social media, spoken about on political platforms, or blogged about in newspaper columns and personal sites. And unfortunately, a lot of the immediate reactions have been at the expense of refugees.
Is it possible for terrorists to exploit a refugee status to enter a country for their own evil agenda? Of course. They’re terrorists, they’re going to take advantage of every system and every kindness to inflict harm on those not conforming to their ways. What’s unfair is blaming those seeking refuge from these terrorists.
There are always going to be those who use the system to their own advantage. Always. And yes, there are some systems that could be better with a little tweaking. But should we do away with a whole system that’s providing solace to innocents because terrorists may be exploiting it?
As children of God, we don’t have the privilege to decide who does and doesn’t deserve help. If this were true, and I were the prophet encountering Saul of Tarsus after he was blinded, I would have declined helping him. God would have used someone else (because He’s God), but what if he hadn’t? A huge chunk of the New Testament (and Paul’s ministry) would be missing because I took it upon myself to decide Saul didn’t deserve help. Who am I to say no to a person God created in His image?
Should we use discernment and recognize when we’re being taken advantage of? Of course. That’s where setting healthy boundaries comes into play. But we have the privilege of being the hands and feet of Jesus. We’re here to spread love and help people understand God’s love for them. And, quite frankly, the current cry that only Christian refugees be helped isn’t Christian at all because then we are playing God and deciding who gets accepted into His family.
While in Budapest, I had the opportunity of meeting a family that served the refugees coming into Europe through Hungary. While talking, the topic of “what if” came up because David, the husband and father, said they encountered that question often. “What if you are helping a terrorist?” His answer was basically: “What if, in the simple act of handing a banana to a person in need, I’ve changed his entire perspective of the world, and they choose a different path?”
We’re all refugees. Adam and Eve’s sin banned us from the original world and plan God had, propelling us into a world where we constantly face the struggle between Good and evil. The Good News is that evil has already lost this war. The bad news is that we still have to decide how we respond to evil in our midst. Do we increase our love, kindness and compassion, heaping coals on evil, glorifying the Kingdom, or do we ourselves fall victim to our refugee status and believe Satan’s lies, closing ourselves off to people because they “might be” terrorists?
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. Matthew 25:35-36
In December, my community is hosting an evening of dinner and music to raise funds to support a refugee family’s move to the United States. Visit the website for more information or to donate to Neighbors Night: Refugee Fundraiser.