Just to clarify, Christians are not scared of France. I mean the Eiffel Tower is pretty darn phalic, but we can forgive that. What scared Christians was the same thing that scared everybody: the ISIS terrorist attack that’s still too fresh. This attacked has caused many countries to reconsider letting Syrian refugees, particularly Muslims, into their borders. But the most surprising yet unsurprising cry comes from Christians.
Let me quickly lay down a few facts: A) I am a Christian and therefore disagree with Muslim doctrine. B) I think ISIS is a group of psychopaths bent on destruction and fearmongering. C) I do believe wisdom, caution, and discretion are necessary when letting someone into your home, particularly in such uncertain times.
And now for one more fact: I’m grieved at the response of the many Christians who want to shut our doors and keep all Syrian refugees out.
First of all, the cry seems to be against Muslims in particular. For one thing, “Muslim” does not automatically equal “Terrorist” any more than “Christian” automatically equals “Crusader.” Only God knows what’s going on inside a person’s heart, and until we see it, too, we can’t judge them. Moreover, we can’t know that someone fleeing ISIS is a Muslim, especially since Muslims aren’t the only targets.
However, let’s say I’m wrong, that every single Syrian refugee is a Muslim. Does that make it right for Christians to keep them out of our country? Many are saying yes, rather loudly on Facebook. After all, they’re Muslims. They don’t follow the One True God, and that makes them sinners. But then I ask, “What did Jesus do with sinners? Put barriers between himself and them or break them down?” Some would say, “This is different,” and to that I ask, “Why?” Why should I, a Christian, literally Christ-follower, act any differently from Christ?
If I’m kicking sinners out of my country, I’d have to be at the front of the line. I am their king, after all. I’ve been a porn addict, just to name one of my many sins. And Jesus said to even look at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery with her (Matthew 5:28). Again, my opponent my say, “That’s not the same as shooting and bombing other people.” So I would kindly remind them of James 2:10, which says that if you break one part of God’s law, you break every single piece of it. Sin is sin, so how can I, a sinner, ban another sinner from my presence?
But it seems like these angry Christians are more concerned with safety and security than sin. How contrary to the life of Christ, who allowed himself to be tortured and executed for the sake of defeating sin!
That seems to be the main Christian worry: if we let these refugees in, they might hurt us. Well, that’s what happens when you love somebody. Love isn’t love if it doesn’t leave you vulnerable. For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son…to be killed. And God loved us enough to give us free will even though he knew we could abuse it.
Then comes the counterargument: “It’s not just about me. It’s about protecting my family, my friends, and my countrymen from death and terrorism.” First of all, YOUR countrymen are shooting up colleges and elementary schools. Second, even Jesus, who loved his disciples and called them friends (John 15:15) sent them to their deaths! Only one of the original twelve disciples lived to an old age and he was imprisoned (Revelation 1:8). Excluding Judas who hanged himself, the others were executed. Same for Paul, Stephen, and countless others throughout history. God sent them on missions for his glory knowing full well they would die.
So clearly, God values something more than protecting ourselves and those we love, and that something is godliness. To spread the gospel, help the poor and needy, love the brokenhearted, stand up to evil and injustice, and be the Good Samaritans when the Priest and Levites just pass the wounded by. That’s God’s love in action.
And it will cost us something. The greater the love, the greater the potential for pain. But if we suffer and die for God’s sake, then we have something that can’t be killed or taken away: God himself, throughout this long or short life and for eternity after (Matthew 16:26). Don’t be so focused on this life that you fail to store up treasures in the next (Matthew 6:19-20).
I’m scared, too. I also wonder who could be sneaking in among the refugees. I don’t want to die. I have a wife and child I want to protect. But Jesus said to be his witness “to the ends of the Earth” (Acts 1:8). Why should I recoil when the ends of the Earth are coming to me? Shouldn’t we see this as an opportunity, not a disaster?