You’re not going to like how this ends

There is no fear in love;but perfect

What will churches do about Syrian refugees?

Come with me on a journey. Consider yourself warned; you won’t like the ending, but I hope you will come anyway because maybe we can change it. Maybe….

IMAGINE

Cars flow through streets like water around rocks. People glide along crowded sidewalks. My ears are assaulted by cars honking, speakers blaring half-price sales and people occasionally  shouting. It feels oddly natural here. I am so welcome and comfortable; it’s surreal.

A little girl takes my hand in both of hers and I kneel down in an attempt to understand what she said. Unexpectedly, she plants a wet kiss on my cheek before she skips away to wet  the cheeks of my friends.

Who does that?

Heat radiates from the rotisserie and disperses the smell of roasted chicken. My watering mouth distracts me from the  complete stranger approaching. A ride home? She stiffly climbs into the car with her heavy package snugged near her body. Her humble neighborhood is not welcoming, but she is. Though we accept her invitation to come inside and have juice, we decline her offer to prepare dinner knowing she couldn’t afford needed medication.

Who does that?

Our hosts were new in town but they visited a nearby grocery store to buy powdered sugar ten days earlier. On a return trip, the clerk recognizes them and apologizes for accidentally overcharging them. He waited more than a week for them to return so he could refund their money.

Who does that?

We tear open grease-stained sacks and pass out napkins as ten hungry souls gather around the restaurant table. Wait, there’s another sack, and another? We receive four times more food than we ordered and have leftovers for the next two days. When the bill comes, the price is the same.

Who does that?

Rummaging through a rack of scarves, she selects a solid green one with fringe on the ends. Unzipping her wallet to pay, the clerk puts up a hand and refuses her money. He declares it a gift. Two stores later on our shopping excursion, a bangle selected from a bin also becomes a gift at the register.

Who does that?

The life-changing project requires eighteen man hours of labor, not counting the time spent gathering supplies. Where does one find a 3-ring binder in this city? The clerk admits he doesn’t carry them but gives directions to another store. Seeing our blank expressions, he leaves the store attended only by our group and walks out. He makes the purchase himself, and returns with the vital supply.

Who does that?

You may not want to know who is so kind and eager to show generosity and hospitality to strangers. You may have preconceived ideas about these people who live in a foreign land; people who have lost their homes and jobs and live in a conflict that intensifies every day in a country I can literally see on the horizon;  people who are resilient and hopeful despite unspeakable loss and tragedy.

A people clad in hijabs, turbans and burkas.

That’s who does that

What you see portrayed on the evening news is not what I saw with my own eyes. Eighty percent of Syrian refugees are women and children.

What do followers of Jesus do?

James 1;27, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” NLT

IF we are true followers of Jesus Christ, we are commanded to care for them.
These people want the same things we want. They want productive jobs to provide for their families. They want education for their children. They want peace. Their number is growing while the war in their homeland rages on.

Will we let fear make them unwelcome?

I wish you could see what I saw. I wish you could see the warmth in their eyes. I especially wish you had a little saliva on your cheek. Then you would know. And if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have compassion for these widows and orphans and families.

IMAGINE

A brown-skinned man lives with his wife and sister in a house full of children. He is unemployed for the first time in his life and cannot provide for his own family, much less his extended family who depend on him. His wife is beautiful, but you can only see her almond shaped eyes. Actually maybe all you see is that scary looking black hood she wears to cover her flesh. We are afraid she is a terrorist, but in reality she is fleeing the terrorists we accuse her of being.

We always fear what we don’t understand, so we glance away when we see them in our hometown. We complain when they open a community center where they can fellowship with people of their own culture. We refuse to receive the poor, helpless and needy into our communities.

Who does that?

Professing followers of Jesus Christ, that’s who. People whose lives are marked by every creature comfort imaginable: safety, food, clean water so abundant we flush our waste in it, lives of ease and by international standards-luxury. We sit on cushioned pews in air-conditioned sanctuaries and pray for the lost.

What will we do when they knock on our doors?

Who does that?
What will churches do about #Syrianrefugees ? #rtp Click To Tweet

We have been remiss in going to the uttermost parts. We have largely ignored the ends of the earth. But they are coming; many are already here. Perhaps God is bringing them for such a time as this. Maybe He would do anything to keep from losing one.

2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” NIV

Please know I am not making any statements on government policy. I am simply asking you to examine your own heart and speech. You can share this if you are brave enough to be a voice for these people.

15 thoughts on “You’re not going to like how this ends

  1. Very well said, Vickie! I’ve heard that refugees in Europe are converting to Christianity by the hundreds. I believe God is working in that part of the world. Praise God! Muslims have been told that Christians hate them – we have to show them by our words and actions that we don’t.
    1 John 4:19-21

  2. Thought provoking and convicting. I just read an editorial about how our national fears and how the media fan them because they sell news. I, too, have been asking myself how different the Western Church is from the world–me included. I think it takes putting a face on those people. Surely, there is a way we can open our hearts to them as Jesus did us.

It's more fun when you join the conversation