For the last month, I have had such an inner struggle to come to terms with the many varied opinions that surround the Syrian refugee crisis. Since ISIS shattered the lives of many living in Paris with its attack on innocence, I have poured over articles and prayed for wisdom. In the beginning it was all very black and white to me; refugees could come, but the states could deny them access to the state. But the more I read, the more I realized that like any other modern day crisis, you need to look through it through multiple lenses. America has long been in the business of leading by example. Even longer, Christians have been in the business of leading by love. I have been challenged to acquire an opinion that does not allow security to be my idol. My greatest hope is that as Christians, we will achieve an understanding of what happens when we don’t lead. But in order to lead, we must obtain clarity on the issues surrounding this crisis.
Faith is a journey, NOT a guilt trip.
There are some Christians that are claiming that their faith is better than others. That they, being of a more liberal mindset, have somehow achieved the highest form of Christianity. Faith is a journey, not a guilt trip. Brothers and sisters in Christ should not be actively tearing each other down by stating they are more mature in their faith. Come along side each other in idea and prayer; support and correct where needed.
Security is my idol and fear is my master.
I crave safety. As a baby I was pulled from my home, put in an orphanage and then later adopted by a loving family. In those 9 months though, my mind was redirected to care for myself rather than allow others to care for me. Growing up was a struggle as well. I craved control of situations, and struggled to process appropriate responses to situations in which I had little control. As an adult thankfully I am aware of this struggle and am actively involved in working on it. But I admit that it would be hard for me to live in a world where I have no choice; no freedom. Unwittingly, I at times have allowed the security that I live in to shroud how I view the world outside America. I have allowed fear of not having the choice to choose what happens to rule my thoughts. The remedy: recognizing that God is sovereign and will not abandon those who love Him.
Recognize a "Hakuna matata" motto to immigration is foolish.
Many people would have us consider a policy similar to an open borders approach to immigration. This kind of “no worries” politics is foolish at best. Let’s look at Romans for reference. Romans 13:1-8 tells us that the State has authority to protect its citizens and create order. This can be seen many times in the Old Testament and New Testament, where leaders would welcome those who wished to assimilate, and yet prepare to defend their people and lands from those who wished to harm them from the inside. Now let’s look at how Israel responded to the influx of immigrants and refugees in 2012. Most of the 60,000 illegals were bussed out of the country. For the refugees protected by international law, the state covered the expenses needed to build housing for them on the outskirts of the country. Refugees stayed here until they were thoroughly vetted or the conditions had improved in their homeland. America should be willing to discuss all options.
Involve yourself in the immigration reform conversation.
One way in which Christians can love on the Syrian refugees is getting involved in the immigration processes that we currently have. We currently have an exhaustive system that is tiered based on need, and relation to current citizens. Then they go through extensive screening. From there, refugees can be conditionally accepted into the United States barring they pass medical and further security checks. The horror of this process is most refugees are children or elderly. America has recently just put its first set of immigration documents online. Yes, we are behind the times and have much work to do to streamline the process.
Another way in which Christians can be a part of the voice is to support charities like the Nazarine Fund. This effort aides refugees by setting up housing, getting them jobs, teaching them the host countries language and aiding them in becoming a profitable part of the new countries society. Programs like these funded by people of faith and people of conscience are essential.
"Love is Patient. Love is Kind."