Normally I write about Star Wars, Marvel and which Bible characters would compose the best crew for the starship Enterprise. Sometimes, though, I am compelled to share my heart even If I know plenty of people will disagree.
I do not think we should close our borders to Syrian refugees.
I don’t base this opinion on political biases or even a full understanding of the situation. My opinion is based on my devotion to Christ and God’s word.
“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” – Exodus 22:21.
“Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” – Exodus 23:9
“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.
A quick search of the word “foreigner” gives us so many verses that show God’s heart to all refugees, lost people looking for a home. God reminded his people to care for those who were different, who wanted to be a part of their community, because they themselves had once been foreigners.
A further search for the word “foreigner” also reveals a lot of verses about violence either being committed to or by foreigners. Those passages, though, are about attacking and conquering nations, not refugees looking for a home.
Beyond the Old Testament we have the words of Jesus himself, which should be more than enough to influence our opinion on the Syrian refugees.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” – Matthew 25:31-40
Who exemplifies the least of these more than the millions of people who have been forced to flee their homes because of violence and tragedies like what we saw last week in Paris and Beirut? Some want to close our borders over the fear of such violence and tragedy making their way to our shores. But how can we, in good conscience and in light of what Jesus says, allow our fear to keep us from doing the right thing?
Jesus also calls us to love our neighbor, and then uses the example of a hated foreigner taking care of a Jewish man. We’re also told to follow the example of Jesus who humbled himself and placed the needs of humanity above his own. I don’t want any terrorists to sneak into the United States, but I can’t let that fear keep me from pursuing Jesus’ heart for those in need.
If you’re not a follower of Jesus and don’t care what the Bible says, then feel free to disagree with me. But if you consider yourself a committed follower of Jesus, then when it comes to the Syrian refugees we have to take God’s word seriously. We need to be willing to listen to God’s word more than any political biases, racial prejudices or genuine fears.
I’ve already emailed my congressman and my governor, asking that California welcome Syrian refugees. Maybe you’re not ready to take that step, but perhaps you’d be willing to simply pray and ask God to show you his heart for the refugee.