A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about immigration from the perspective of our Mexican border. Should we build a wall, should we not build a wall? Should we grant amnesty, should we round everyone up and ship them home? Should we do something in the middle? ETC!
My question today is: “What do we do about all the Syrian refugees?” Today the refugee crisis is about Syria; tomorrow it will be about some other country, and the question is always about what should we do with the massive numbers of people that want to flood into our country all at one time because of the sudden crisis in their home country. And like always, liberals and conservatives line up on opposite sides of the issue and throw punches at one another and don’t come up with any viable solutions.
Bleeding heart liberals, who are looking to expand their voting bloc and will show you picture after picture of poor suffering mothers and their poorly fed children, want to bring in massive numbers of refugees from Syria while fearful conservatives want to deny every last individual all in the name of national security. To add to the confusion the Christian church can’t even decide where they stand. Some would accuse the conservatives of being cold and heartless given the churches mandate to care for the orphan and the widow and the poor. They passionately advocate in favor of the government’s obligation to take care of those who are desperately needing out of their situations. Others in the church fear Muslims and how they might change our country if allowed asylum in such mass numbers.
So, again, who is right? Well, both and neither. Let me offer a couple of thoughts for you to chew on since I believe we are in need of a huge perspective change. Plus, we need to change our expectations.
First to the bleeding heart, social justice crowd: Christians, and Americans in general, typically confuse the responsibilities of the church and the government despite everyone’s efforts to maintain the so called “separation of church and state”. What most people don’t catch is that it is not the government’s job to take care of/save the refugees. That task rests in the hands of the church. It is the church who should readily embrace the responsibility of caring for those who are hungry, those who are oppressed, those who are without shelter, and those who are orphaned and widowed. The church is to bare that burden, while it is the responsibility of the state to protect its citizens from foreign invaders who mean harm. It is the government’s constitutional responsibility to defend her citizens from invasion and hostile takeover.
Second to the “I’m terrified of Muslims and don’t trust a single one of them” crowd: Again, let us consider our unique mandates. The state should do her job and carefully screen anyone who wants to come to this country. Given the insane world we live in caution is a must. Then let the church do her job and recognize that if a flood of people pours into our nation from Syria, or any other Muslim nation for that matter, it is an opportunity to minister to those who are suffering. People who wish to serve God should see an influx of Muslims as an opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus with them. You don’t even have to get on a plane to be a missionary in Syria or Iran or…. All you have to do is start being a missionary in your own back yard. The church should have the expectation that massive numbers of Muslims who hear the Gospel when they get here will turn to the Lord.
For me, immigration is not an “either/or”; it is “both/and”. Everyone in our wonderfully blessed nation should simply fulfill his unique assignment. I think we’d have less controversy that way; but, of course, nothing seems to be as simple as I think it is.
Modified from image By Mstyslav Chernov – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43060184