If We’re Against Them, We’re Against Jesus – The Role of the Church in the Refugee Crisis
This may be a bold claim, but I’m willing to say it: If the Church is not for the harboring and caring for the refugees, then the Church is not for the Way of Jesus.
I firmly believe God’s ear is turned towards the sojourner, the afflicted and oppressed. I firmly believe the Word of God shows His heart towards these matters, and makes the role of the Kingdom Worker absolutely clear in this issue. The way of Jesus is sometimes counter-intuitive, and is more often than not risky. If we’re not dying to ourselves and laying down our comforts, our amenities, and our privilege, then we aren’t pursuing Christ. If we, out of regard for our own safety, wish to keep the afflicted and oppressed away from help, then we are trying to save our own lives and thus shall lose them in the process.
Jesus proclaimed His purpose as liberating the oppressed, and bring good news to the poor . And if you read the gospel accounts, you’ll notice countless examples of Jesus befriending those who are “dangerous” to His society, and even healing outsiders, gentiles, and those who were considered “far from God’s favor”. Think — the woman at the well type scenarios. Jesus is adamantly for the giving of the self for the benefit of others. He is for giving up comfort, and possibly even safety in order to ensure the livelihood of other human beings made in the image of God. And if you think you disagree then please tell me, what was the Cross if it wasn’t an expression of the type of love Jesus has for all of us? This is a type of love which gives freely for the life of everyone, a type of love that does not seek return or gain, but rather seeks the healing and flourishing of all its recipients.
If we, the Church, want to be disciples, but we aren’t for helping these people who have been forced to leave their countries, then perhaps it’s time to check our values and examine who we are truly serving. In the days of the prophets, Israel became like us. They became an established nation, and started to forget their story. They were once the exiles, and then they became the oppressor. They were once the refugees from Egypt, then they became Egypt.
Zechariah had this to say: “Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”
Isaiah said this: “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” 
Micah cried: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” .
And I could bring up the Old Testament references of God’s commands to care for the sojourner, but we may dismiss them since “we are of the new covenant”.
So I’ll share what Jesus has to say:
- “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” 
- “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” 
- “if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” 
- “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” 
If you read this collection of the few among many sayings of Jesus pertinent to this discussion and remain unconvinced, then I urge you to go read Matthew 25:31-45. Here, Jesus is talking of the future judgment, when He will separate the sheep from the goats. What’s interesting about this passage is how the deciding factor between the two groups was not whether or not they believed in Jesus, but whether or not they did what He asked of them. Both groups responded to Him as “Lord”, but only one group served the poor, visited imprisoned, clothed the naked, and fed the hungry. And that group was the one well received by Jesus at the Judgment. I believe it’s because this group is actually embodying the way of Jesus. This group is in tune with God’s heart, and listens to the Spirit. This group isn’t concerned with anything because they trust God, and have built their house on the Rock — that is, Jesus’ way of living in the Kingdom.
Are we in the first group, counted among the sheep? Or are we goats who are adamant about defending a ‘kingdom’ that will not last? Would we dare turn a deaf ear to those in need in order to preserve our national identity and safety? Would we disregard the heart of the one who offered us redemption from our sins, from the things that have broken us and afflicted us? I would hope not! But I believe that if we’re against helping the refugees we’re against serving Jesus.
I suggest we, the Church, take a good look at how we are embodying Christ to a dying world. And I suggest we become a light on a hill once again, starting with the issue of refugees. I don’t have specific ideas or answers as to how we, the Church, can best solve this issue. I don’t have a 3 step solution. But that is no reason to start moving, to start doing something for these people who need us to love them as Christ first loved us. If you have any thoughts on how the Church can be an effective force in Refugee Aid, please contribute to the discussion in the comments below.