Certainly last Friday night, as the images of Paris rolled across our screen, the world was reminded of the evil that exist in our world in the form of radical islamic terrorists. So many people ask why would people commit such a heinous act? The answer is quit simply that evil exist in our world. I want to lay out some facts about the terrorist attacks in France. First, all the terrorist with the exception one were French and Belgium nationals (USA Today) and not part of some group of refugees. Secondly, they were muslim and are of the opinion that any non-muslim must die. Thirdly, these type people cannot be coddled, negotiated with or trusted. Pure and simple these people and all the people representing terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. are evil and are the enemies of all mankind. I am also as frustrated and sick of our current administration’s refusal to call these people what they are – evil, radical, islamic terrorist – as the next person with any common sense. I also want to point out that the Christian population in Syria is approximately 1.8 million. Syria has more Christians than any other country in the region. With these facts, the question still remains of “What are we to do with the flood of refugees escaping the war ravaged country of Syria?”.
I will acknowledge that what I am about to share is based not on the politics of the moment or fear that is fomented by the acts of Islamic Terrorist. It is based on the authority of God’s word and as a minister of the gospel, I must always side with the authority of scripture before any political party or the opinion that provides the biggest cheers. I will also be totally honest in that I have struggled with this issue of accepting refugees from Syria, but after reading scripture I must side with what I believe to be God’s opinion on the matter.
The bible is very clear that God’s people are to “love their neighbor as they love themselves” (Matt. 22:39). God’s word also tells us how we are to treat people in great need. In Matt. 25:34-40, where Jesus says that when we minister to the hungry, those in need of clothing, the thirsty, the imprisoned & the sick that we do it for Him. The Old Testament has many passages that deal with the plight of the “alien”. For me the one that solidified the fact that as a believer, in keeping with the example of scripture, that I must be in favor of welcoming refugees from the crisis in Syria is Jeremiah 22:3. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless and the widow nor shed innocent blood in this place.” – Jeremiah 22:3 (ESV). This passage tells us very simply based on the example God exhorted Judah to set that we are to do justice, be righteous, aid the ones being oppressed and do no wrong to the alien. I am of the firm conviction that the Syrian refugees fit this criteria. If we look at our nation’s history, we have a track record of accepting refugees. In world WWII, we accepted many Jews and others. We accepted them even as they were leaving Germany which was home to Hitler and the Nazi party. We accepted the refugees from SE Asia as war was waged in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. We allowed Cuban nationals into our country beginning in the 1960’s even as we were in the midst of potential nuclear war with Cuba and the Soviet Union.
As I close, I realize that I will have more critics concerning this blog post than those that likely see it my way. Some may even call me a name, “unfriend” me on Facebook, quit following my twitter feed or refuse to read another blog that I post. I’m prepared for these potential realities, but I am also at ease with the fact that I have followed the conviction of my heart and what I believe to be the mandates of God’s Holy Word. I am reminded of the story of Jonah that was really about more that a prophet getting swallowed by a fish. One of the main reasons for Jonah’s plight was that his disobedience to God was rooted in the fact that Jonah was more of a patriot than he was a prophet. God help me to always be a prophet before a patriot. Make no mistake, I love my country and I am patriotic, but my allegiance to God and His Word must come first. So what are what are to do fellow citizens and fellow believers? Are we to let fear and fear-mongering rule the day or are we to follow the edicts of scripture? Even if our disobedience is rooted in fear and patriotism, it is still, none the less, disobedience.