Why is that so often our first response is based on our fear? We gravitate easily to a worst-case scenario.
If you pay attention at all to current events, you know that a crisis is happening in Syria. Because of a civil war that’s lasted for over four years, and now ISIS, thousands of refugees are fleeing the country.
At first, most of the refugees fled into neighboring countries like Jordan and Turkey. But now many have taken on the dangerous journey of making an attempt to get into Europe. Sadly, many have died along the way.
Countries throughout the Middle East and Europe are struggling with how to best handle the influx of the refugees.
Some have stated that this is the largest movement of refugees since WWII.
It’s interesting when we look back at that time in history, it’s hard for to understand the lack of response during WWII. The majority of people were against what the Nazis were doing throughout Europe, but they remained silent.
Out of Fear.
Sadly, we are repeating history.
Headlines like Refugee Crisis in Syria Raises Fears in South Carolina and Mood Sours in Germany… support my concern.
The biggest fear, because the majority of the refugees are muslim, is that they will either cloak the entry of jihadic terrorists, or they will never assimilate into a Christian society. Or both.
Either might be true. But is that enough of a reason for a panic laced response?
My friend Josh Armstrong and his wife, Jen, happened to be in Hungary just as the crisis there escalated. Thousands of refugees were making their way through Hungary when the government basically trapped them at the train station forcing many to continue the trek on foot once again.
You can listen to their podcast about their first-hand experience here.
Drastically different “Christian” responses
We can argue that the predominantly muslim arabic countries should be opening their borders to the entire refugee population. Some to an extent are like Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt. But the others, and more financially able, simply aren’t doing so, yet.
And even in the arabic countries that are allowing them in, they aren’t allowing them to work. So, they are leaving for more democratic, Judeo-Christian countries.
Within the “christian” leadership of these countries, one argument is “these muslim refugees will ruin our christian way of life”. The other is, “if we claim to be Christians, then we are compelled to help whatever the cost.
How my worldview shapes my response
Yes I have a Christian worldview, and not only because I was born an American. I study the ways of Jesus. I follow His teachings. I spend time with Him. He shapes my worldview.
I do understand fear, ignorance, even apathy. I experience all of those. But that should NOT to the point of turning away people who need help.
Instead, I hope that His nature in me compels me to respond like the Good Samaritan did. A person who risked their reputation and safety to care for one in need.
I join those in this country encouraging our government to increase the amount of Syrian refugees accepted into our land. Yes, we should do all we can to screen these people. But we never can know for sure.
If families are resettled into my community as many others have been over the years, my heart is to help them learn of our ways. Having lived in a foreign country before, I know one of the most comforting forms of compassion is a local resident helping a foreigner understand how to live in that country.
This country has a rich history of immigrants calling this place home. For most of us, we can trace our lineage back to family who immigrated here from another country, many because of persecution of some kind.
We should never forget or lose that reputation.
I will give to support organizations, both locally and abroad, that are helping these families in their time of crisis.
My worldview compels me to do so.
This isn’t anything new. And I predict in the decades to come it will only become more common. So I have a choice. Will I resist it out of fear, or will I prepare for it. Not prepare for it in a way to defend myself from it. But prepare in such a way that I can help others in need in any way possible.
That’s what a missionary does.
Organizations to support: (I selected these because they are smaller organizations that tend to work with lower overhead and more hands on through local residents and churches. Of course, many of the larger, well-known organizations are also working to help the Syrian refugees)
BGR (Baptist Global Response)
Here is an article from Huffington Post with 6 more not necessarily faith-based organizations.