Why Christians Shouldn’t Fear the Immigration of Refugees

7 Thoughts To Consider Regarding Immigration and Refugees

Reading Time: 3 minutes

World-wide hate crimes and acts of terror are increasing the need to relocate people to safer locations.  Along the way, one word seems to guide the conversation – fear.  While uncertainty is no doubt a major cause of fear, Christians should have nothing to fear.

Why Christians Shouldn’t Fear the Immigration of Refugees

In fact, Christians should be embracing immigration and welcoming refugees. Here are seven thoughts to consider:

1.     Refugees are seeking help.

Just like Joseph’s family fled to Egypt for famine relief (Genesis 46-47), and Jesus’ family searched for refuge in Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15), many are looking for help in our world today.  Their beliefs and values don’t always line up with ours, but their need for safety is more than real.

2.     God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear.

We’re called to spread the truth and grace of the gospel without fear. We should be unashamed of God’s grace, and pursue love and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7). If we have the opportunity to love others, we should do so.

3.     It’s not about us – we’re called to selflessness.

Jesus humbly gave his life for others; we should humbly invite hurting people to safe sanctuary. Click To TweetWe can quickly play the “national security” card, but if we were honest with ourselves, we would know we need to put the needs of others before ourselves.

“In humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to [your] own interests, but also to the interest of others…Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God…but made himself nothing…he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:3-8, ESV)

Jesus humbly gave his life for others; we should humbly invite hurting people to safe sanctuary.

4.     We need to love others, even when it hurts.

It doesn’t matter who it is or what background they may come from, a person in need is a person in need.  Jesus said the two greatest commandments include “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” When asked, “Who is my neighbor?” He used a parable to describe a man who loved and helped another man in need despite his differences. (Luke 10:25-37)

5.     We’re called to welcome “strangers”.

From the Old Testament to the New, the call to love “strangers” and “sojourners” has never ceased.  God reminded the Israelites to love strangers because they were once strangers in Egypt themselves (Deuteronomy 10:19).

Paul describes a true #Christian as someone who seeks to show #hospitality -- #refugees #immigration Click To TweetPaul describes a true Christian as someone who seeks to show hospitality, lives in harmony, and even loves their enemies to the extent of meeting their needs (Romans 12:9-21). The reach of hospitality should be fully extended.

The Hebrew writer even reminds us that, in our hospitality of strangers, some have actually entertained angels (Hebrews 13:2).  In our fear, have we ever pushed away God’s messengers?

6.     We were all once “aliens”.

From a theological perspective, all Christians were once “separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God” (Ephesians 2:12).

Through Christ, however, we are one body.  It really doesn’t matter what the religious intentions of refugees may be – God loved us before we loved Him.  God provided a way for us to become united when we were all strangers to the Kingdom.  Why should we fear those seeking peace?

7.     We’re called to show God’s accepting love.

James wrote, “Faith by itself, if it does not have [good] works, is dead” (James 2:17).  We can believe in God, belong to the Kingdom, and be a “Christian,” but if we do not physically meet the needs of those around us, “what good is that” (2:16)?

I know we have to be responsible and ensure we are actually meeting legitimate needs in the world, but any true follower of Christ should fearlessly pursue the act of welcoming and helping refugees as the need arises.

This is not to say that the less fortunate in our own hometowns should be ignored.  Jesus is calling us to “make friends” with our “worldly wealth” (Luke 16).  That means to consistently help those with less to the point of unity – bringing people out of poverty, helping those in the community, and pointing people to the truth of eternity.

Viewing the #immigration of #refugees selflessly...is part of the very essence of the #Kingdom! Click To TweetViewing the immigration of refugees selflessly, and not selfishly, is part of the very essence of the Kingdom!  I pray we can release our selfish conservative nature and engage in true ministry.

Your turn…

How do you view the immigration of refugees?  Is there a difference between government policy and Christian responsibility?


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The Golden Rule

Christian Love Is Seen In Action

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“The Golden Rule” (also known as respect) has shown its face in so many ways.  Confucius is known to have said, “Do not to others what you would not wish done to your-self.” Rabbi Hillel is attributed with saying, “What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else.”  And of course, we’ve all heard our mothers say, “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all.”

the Golden Rule - love in action http://andrewholm.com/the-golden-rule-love-in-action/

In Matthew 7:12 we find Jesus’ version of the rule.  While the meaning might be similar, the voicing and resulting implications are completely different.  This is what Jesus said:

“So in everything, DO to others, what you would have them DO to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, ESV).

The previous versions are all voiced in the negative. We’re told what we should avoid doing, so it’s not done to us.  Jesus, on the other hand, voiced the rule in the positive.  Jesus told us to do what we would wish others to do – that is, act in love. Jesus told us to do what we would wish others to do – that is, act in #love. #GoldenRule #Matthew7 Click To Tweet

What we’ve made it…

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New Year Resolutions (Part 2)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As we look forward to another wonderful year, many of us make new year resolutions.  Maybe this year we can set goals that help us grow spirituality over the next twelve months.  As Christians, we should be growing together in terms of three concepts: worshiping God, loving others, and serving.  Perhaps this year we can challenge ourselves with building stronger relationships within these three areas.

In part one, we looked at our relationship with God.  In this post, we’ll look at our relationship with others.

Our relationship with Others

We’re around others every day.  In order to have successful relationships, we need to ensure we respect and love one another.  Let’s look at a couple of ways we can work on this during 2013.

Forgiveness

Because we’re human, we sometimes butt heads with one another.  Sometimes it results in pain, confusion, heartache or otherwise hurt.  Generally speaking, we have no idea we’ve hurt someone unless that person has told us.  In that case, we need to make sure we initiate forgiveness so a positive resolution can be made.  Paul told us:

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.[i]

We need to bear with and forgive one another like Christ did for us.  If that’s true, we’ll need to forgive without expecting anything in return.

Jesus told us how to forgive.  In Matthew’s gospel[ii], Jesus lays out four steps to follow:

1)      Go to the person one-on-one – let them know what happened and work it out.  If that doesn’t work,

2)      Gather two or three people together as witnesses to help mediate the situation.  If that doesn’t work,

3)      Tell the church body and hopefully a positive resolution can be made.  If that doesn’t work,

4)      Disregard the person and situation.  In other words, take the high road.

Let’s not wait any longer – mend relationships in 2013.

Loving Others

The Bible is pretty clear that we need to love one another.  In fact, the gospel is built on LOVE.  When writing to the Church in Rome, Paul wrote:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love.  Honour one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.[iii]

We are called to have sincere and genuine love for others.  We need to love when society tells us there is no room for love.  We need to love even when love isn’t reciprocated.  How will you love others this year?

How will you challenge yourself to better your relationship with others?  This year, let’s love as Christ loves us.

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From our home to yours, have a blessed and wonderful year!

Check out part one and three of “New Year Resolutions”

 


[i] Col 3:13, NIV.

[ii] Matt 18:15-20, NIV.

[iii] Romans 12:9-13, NIV.