Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Refugees, America & God's Heart:

My heart is heavy today and my brain is confused as I scroll through social media, listen to the news and talk with people about refugees. I have been staring at my computer screen and wondering what to say about this incredibly  complex situation (that's probably the understatement of the year).

On one hand I want to say we should accept all refugees and love them but on the other hand I know the situation isn't that easy and I can understand the reality that ISIS could use the refugee situation to spread their troops around the world.

On one hand I want to say we should love our neighbor and that means we should have compassion on refugees and welcome them but on the other hand loving our neighbor also means loving the people around us and not wanting to see them suffer a terrorist attack.

The situation with refugees is very very complex. I wrote a lot this morning but in the end I hit delete grabbed my Bible, conducted a word study on the word refugee, strangers, poor, aliens and sojourners and discovered seven truths from Scripture.

Seven key principles describe God's abiding concern for refugees:

1. God loves, protects, and provides for refugees.
• He watches over them. Ps. 146:9.
• He provides refuge for them, a shelter from the storm, and
shade from the heat. Ps. 9:9, Is.25:4.
• He shows no partiality to natives of a country. Refugees and
natives have equal status is His sight. Deut. 10:16-19, Num.15:16.
• He defends their cause, providing food and clothing for them.
Deut. 10:16-19.
• Jesus announced that the essence of his ministry was to help and serve people in refugee-like situations. Luke 4:16-2

2. God expects his people to love refugees and to give freely of their resources to help them.
• Love refugees as you love yourselves. Lev. 19:34, Deut 10:16-19.
• Treat refugees fairly and stand up for them when others mistreat them. Ps. 82:4, Ex. 22:21, Lev. 19:33, Zech. 7:9-10, Deut. 23:15.
• Share your food, clothing, and shelter with them. Is. 58:6-11, Lk. 3:10, Mt. 25:31-46.
• Invite them into your homes. Heb. 13:2. Is. 58:6-11, Luke 14:12-13.
• Set aside part of your income to help them. Lev. 19:10, 23:22, Deut. 24:19-21, 14:28-29, 26:12, Gal. 2:10, Ja. 1:27.
• Sell your possessions to help them if need be. Lk. 12:33, Mt.19:21.
• Encourage them. Is. 1:17.

3. God views our compassionate treatment of refugees as a fundamental indicator of true Christianity.
• When believers stand before Him on judgment day He will ask them how they treated refugees. Luke 14:12-13, Matthew 25:31- 46.

4. God expects the nations to rescue refugees, to take them in, and to treat them just like her native born.
• Rescue refugees from persecuting nations. Is. 16:3-5.
• Give shelter to them from their destroyers. Is. 16:3-5.
• Never return refugees to their oppressors. Let them live with you. Deut. 23:15.
• Give them a choice as to where they can live among you. Deut. 23:15.
• Treat refugees just like you do your own citizens through your laws and regulations. Treat them fairly. Lev. 19:34, 24:22, Num. 15:16.
• Set aside part of your income to help them. Deut. 14:28-29, 26:12

5. God promises to bless the family and nation who take care of refugees.
• He blesses them and the work of their hands. Deut. 24:19-21.
• He answers their prayer. Is. 58:6-11.
• His glory is their rear guard. Ps. 41:1-3, Is. 58:6-11.
• He strengthens them physically. Is. 58:6-11, Ps. 41:1-3.
• He satisfies their needs. Prov. 28:27, Is. 58:6-11.
• He protects them. Ps. 41:1-3.
• He will repay them at the resurrection of the righteous. Lk. 14:12-13, Mt. 25:31-46

6. God promises to purse the nation and people who mistreat refugees.
• The judgment and curse of the Lord is on a nation that withholds justice from the refugee. Deut. 27:19, 24:17, Ez.22:9f, Mal 3:5, Ez. 16:49f
• The Lord will not answer their prayers. Pr. 21:13
• He who closes his/hers ears to refugees will receive many curses. Pr. 28:27
• You show contempt toward God if you oppress the poor. Pr. 10:31.
• A nation's right to its land is predicated upon treating refugees well. Jer. 5:5-7

7. God views our care for refugees as a concrete expression of love and service to him.
• When we take care of refugees, we take care of the Lord.  Mt. 25.

I don't know what to say to end this blog post or what to say to even add anything of substance to the noise except maybe just more noise I should probably just hit delete..... In the end here's all I know; whatever you think in terms of policy there is one inescapable reality: God loves refugees.

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