Did you know that Jesus was a refugee? His parents escaped the brutality of Herod and lived in Egypt for years.
Yes. As a middle eastern refugee family.
The letter above was written for me. And FYI, this is not a conservative vs. liberal issue. This is not a Christian versus Muslim issue. This is not even an ISIS versus the West issue.
This is a me-against-myself issue.
You see, the solution to this monumental problem cannot be found in anyone but me.
I am the solution.
I will stop expecting America to be the solution.
I will stop expecting bombs to be the solution.
I will stop expecting my pastors to be the solution.
I will stop expecting Facebook rants to be the solution.
I am the solution.
My belief is that we need to welcome refuges. My other belief is that unless I’m willing to open the doors to my own home, then I need to shut up about it.
There are many ways you and I can get involved. I have chosen to sign up with the World Relief organization to help those who are coming as refugees to my area. As a family, we are also in the process of adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia.
You know why? Because I don’t want to miss the chance of engaging with Jesus in the flesh: “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.” Matthew 25:34-36
There are more than 10,000 human beings desperately looking for shelter.
10,000 Syrian refugees.
10,000 Jesus’ in waiting.
This was the number of refugees the US was planning to receive, there are many, many more.
Like the the boy in this picture. His name is Omran.
And Omran is Jesus.
His country has been devastated by a civil war that has raged on for more than four years. And ISIS (as well as Russia and the Syrian government) have taken advantage of the pain and the carnage.
We mustn’t forget that many innocent children like Omran are included in the 10,000 number. That there are lovely grandmothers and creative entrepreneurs in the mix. There’s also a few scientists and teachers and doctors.
And yes, maybe just maybe, a few wannabe terrorists.
I’m hopeful that the doors of our nation stay open. And if any ISIS operative manages to get through customs and immigration, I’m hopeful they get to meet with me and my friends.
I dream that it would be me who picks them up at the airport. That they would come to my home for rice and beans. Then, they would play with my children and take some of my money. And after that, they would meet my Savior and become radical lovers of Him.
I know it sounds delusional. Yet I choose the radical hope found in the gospel of Jesus. It worked in the New Testament so I know it can work in our day and age.
Here’s another letter to remind us:
Saul of Tarsus met Jesus on the road to Damascus (the capital of Syria).
And he was a terrorist who hated Christians.
He became the Apostle Paul after a Syrian welcomed him into his home and healed his blindness.
I believe that the Road to Damascus Experience is part of the spiritual inheritance of all those 10,000 Syrians. The law tells me to keep them out. To punish them for the sins of their fathers. To despise them and leave them to sort out their own mess.
Jesus says different.
Jesus is God.
And God is right.
So I’m sticking with Him. “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigners residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:18-19
Ultimately, I think that my frustration is self-inflicted. I want this nation to behave like a Christian (at least my incomplete version of what a Christian looks like).
I want zero abortions, compassion for the poor, opportunities to prosper.
But America is not the body of Christ.
You and I.
And let me put the emphasis on the “I”.
We are believers of a way that is above patriotism, comfort and human nature. Our distinctive is holiness and compassion; it’s beauty and self-sacrifice… It is the cross and the resurrection. And whatever I want to see around me, I need to stop telling you to do it. So I’m done telling others that they need to love their enemies. I’m finished with imposing my ethics and theology on my sisters and brothers.
I’m sick of the sound of my own self-righteousness!
Yes, I believe in adoption and will adopt our daughter. Oh yes, I will continue to prioritize my children and try to love my wife as Christ loves the church. It will continue to be my honor to teach in church and serve the local congregation.
And I will add giving of my time and space to helping refugees.
It’s time to make my life the loudest blog post.
And yes, it would be appropriate to finish this article with a third letter:
The world won’t read me, but they will read you.
Your faith without works is dead.
+ If you agree, share this invitation with your friends on Facebook. If you don’t, I am honestly interested in hearing your thoughts.
Please comment below.