Thursday, November 19, 2015

God sends them to us . . . all expenses paid.

This week has been a difficult week.

A new terror attack.  Sifting through the aftermath of how it happened and how to prevent another one from happening. 

Add to that the difficult moral decision about what to do with refugees that are fleeing the war in Syria.  Were they involved in the Paris attack?  Middle Eastern countries aren’t taking them – do they know something we don’t?  Are terrorists going to sneak in with the refugees?

And everyone has an opinion on the subject.

Strike that.  Everyone has an oversimplified opinion on the subject.  Social media is full of manipulative memes that paint any opposition to their view as brainless, heartless or both.

For example, those in favor of bringing Syrian refugees liken the problem to Jesus’ mother looking for a place to stay at the first Christmas.  


Mary and Joseph were registering for a census and were planning to go home.  They were denied a place to stay for one night because everyone else arrived earlier.  No one was denying Mary because they feared she may be preparing to carry out terroristic plans to usher in a radical Muslim apocalypse.

Very different.

But the opposing view is equally as reductionistic.  So you don’t think we should accept Syrian refugees because there might be terrorists in the group.

Okay, do you really think there are no terror cells in the US right now?  Do you think that they have been waiting for the cover of refugees to enter our country? 

Just to be sure - you are right - admitting refugees from a country where 20% of its people have a favorable opinion of ISIS seems pretty dangerous. 

You are also right to be afraid.   Let's remember, this is not a little morals test that we take on Facebook:

“do you think that refugees should have a home – click yes or no.” 

We can't weigh in on this subject like it is a survey question.  We could be talking about one of my kids who takes a field trip to D.C.  How willing am I to bet that none of the 10,000 people coming aren’t going to buy a gun and shoot the place up?

Are you willing to place that bet with your boyfriend?  Your mom?

How simple would the decision be then?

This is a very complex moral issue – not a political one.  And it goes so far beyond a back-and-forth war of memes with an “I’m right, you are wrong” attitude on social media.  Give each other space to think through this.  Let’s value each other’s thoughts on this matter and give each other the dignity of having deep-seated ideas and passions that we can learn from.

That’s because these are moral issues – not political issues.       

The worst kind of ignorance is to surf Facebook, see what people are thinking and then throw a meme on your status and think everyone else is an idiot who thinks differently.  Please, let’s not be that kind of country.

As for me, I do get nervous about whoever comes into this country that may potentially do massive harm – and it happens every day.  But in this life we weren’t guaranteed safety.  As a Christian, I see the refugee issue as much bigger than whether my family is safe.

Think of it this way:

There is a lot of junk going on in the Middle East right now – Syria to be exact.  And 99.9% of us can’t afford the time or the money to go to the Syria to help people’s hearts and minds change about Christianity, peace, change or humanity.  

So we pray . . . 

and what does God do?

He sends them to us – all expenses paid.

Seems like the opportunity of a lifetime to shine the light of love to a people who have been kept in darkness. 

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