I don’t want Syrian refugees to come to America because I’m afraid
A Syrian refugee woman invited us to visit her home, but we were lost and this time it wasn’t my fault. Sitting inside the stuffy car my right eyelid drooped from the 90 plus degree temperature. My hair blew when I pointed the passenger side air-conditioning vents toward my face. I glanced at the driver of the rented Hyundai and it occurred to me, I don’t know her last name. However, I do know she drove in this country for the first time 3 days ago.
Instead of pursuing the American dream she navigates this foreign land and sits behind the wheel with a permanent look of satisfaction on her face. You know, the kind that flows out of a soul full of Jesus.
Lost and looking for the lost
She hit redial on her cell phone for the fifth time to get repeat directions and remained unfazed when it was time to admit we were hopelessly lost. Who could blame us? None of us read Arabic, the streets were not marked and directions were confusing. “Turn right at the third street.” Define street, please. Is that an alley or a street? It was hard to tell.
I wondered out loud what to do. Lost in thought, or perhaps praying silently, she ignored me.
After fifteen awkward minutes of silence, her eyes went wide as a grin spread over her face. “That’s it!” she exclaimed. After driving in circles looking for a coffee shop, we were parked beneath the neon sign of an old fashioned pot. Don’t need to read Arabic to figure that out, just need to look up, literally.
Psalm 121:1, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains-where does my help come from?” NIV
We arrived at the run-down, cinder block home and I blinked back tears as she told her story (click here to read). Through the translator, I said, “I am so sorry for what you have been through. I want you to know we care.”
SHE ALREADY KNEW
“I know you care because you spent so much time finding me.” Hmmm, isn’t that interesting? No one would blame us if we gave up, yet the source of our frustration was proof of our commitment.
Do you see delays and inconveniences as opportunities?
Could it be the very thing frustrating you is what God intends to use for your blessing and good?Delays are God-designed detours to accomplish His purposes #Syrian refugees #compassion… Click To Tweet
She thanked us for caring and declared, “All Christians care and I am grateful all Americans stand with the Syrian refugees.”
DON’T TELL HER THE TRUTH
She receives humanitarian aid and Christians help her people. After all, isn’t that what Jesus commanded?
Matthew 25:35, “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 took me in.” HCSB
She practices English so she can work when she gets the opportunity to come to the United States and every American she meets is there to help, or like us, simply listen. There is much value in listening to someone’s story, but it costs our most precious commodity-time. Frankly, I’ve been stingy with my time for most of my life.
Isaiah 58:19, “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” NLT
LISTEN FOR A MOMENT
I am afraid for Syrian refugees to come to America because I am afraid for them to know the truth – not all Christians care, are eager to help or willing to listen. And Americans? Well take a few minutes to scroll through social media and you get the idea. I love my Syrian friend and I don’t want her to know. That’s why I’m afraid for Syrian refugees to come to America.
3 John 1:8, “We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.” NIV
She imagines making friends and socializing, after all, she gladly opened her home to complete strangers. Who will welcome her into their home? Even worse, who will invite her to their church? Where will she be welcomed dressed in the only wardrobe she has ever known.
God commanded us to go to the uttermost parts of the world and now He is bringing the world to us. Will we neglect the lost? Please don’t think this is a political stance on accepting Syrian refugees who are not properly vetted. My opinion doesn’t count in that debate anyway.
My question is not whether she should come; my question is, will you welcome my friend if she does?
Will you invite Syrian refugees to your church? What about your home?
Will you shatter her perception of Christian Americans with hateful prejudice because of the evil my friend and her people are trying to escape?
Will you veil the gospel?
2 Corinthians 4:3, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” ESV
I’m afraid for her to come, but if she does, will you make sure she is not disappointed?