What Does The Bible Say About Refugees?

Today my pastor, while talking about the importance of the church, mentioned how sometimes people take offense in something their church did and then just leave.

“Well, I’m a red-headed vegan from Costa Rica; you have nothing that caters to me. So I’m leaving the church”. He joked.

“No we don’t.” He continued, “but why don’t YOU start something for red-headed vegans from Costa Rica?”

“Be the Church!”

And honestly, with my recent criticisms of the Church as a whole (not my personal church), that hit home HARD. It struck a chord, and like they say on twitter, I was “TRIGGERED”!

So I have decided to be the CHURCH.

I’m being the Church in this post. Come with me.

Just before he mentioned the above, in a special giving Sunday, he mentioned my church helping refugees and asking us to donate. And I felt quite proud; that I was apart of a church that cared. Yes my pastors stay away from political discourse. Other than just reiterating God’s love, they don’t take political sides, at least not publicly. They remind us of the diversity of the people of God and keep it at that. But when it comes to helping children and women who had to flee from war torn countries for survival, that's not a political statement. It's human decency. You would think we all agreed on that, right? Well, apparently not.

Earlier this week my uncle sent one of those BCs on Whats App. The BC contained information supporting the recent immigration bans and exclusion of muslim refugees. I like to think of myself as someone who respects other people's opinion. Well, except that opinion supports the systemic oppression of people who share the same gender and skin color as me. Er no bueno. But really, I generally respect other people's opinions. However, I was a bit taken aback by that message from my uncle, because he is a pastor. To be fair, he did not compose that BC himself, he just forwarded it. As far as I'm concerned however,  forwarding a message means endorsement of its content. I’m not calling him out or anything. He will never read this anyway. But he inspired me to think further on the place of Christians in a world that says no to refugees.

In other words, what would Jesus do about Refugees?

Here goes:

Everyone remembers Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed, yes? Well check out one of their offenses:

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." Ezekiel 16:49


"Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt" Exodus 23:9

ahem "nation of immigrants" ahem

"When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 19:33-34

And my personal favorite:
Love your neighbor as yourself.

The bible can be very vague about many things: prosperity, marriage, prayers. But it is clear on the subject of treating others, and particularly those in need. It does NOT mince words in that regard. It does not say "admit them, but be careful".  Neither does it say, "only admit the Christians." Nope. Jesus was clear: if you reject the needy, the helpless, the refugee, you are rejecting Him. Of course, wisdom must and should be applied. Which is why TONS of screening and waiting periods go into the admission of every single refugee into this country. I know some other rich countries have refused to accept refugees, and I have commented on that in the past. Their loss, to be honest. Now "evangelicals" can not cherry pick the bible. No. When we say all of what it warns against and condemns, we must also mention the things it commands us to do. Simple.

So in retrospect, I made a mistake. I should have responded to my uncle. I should have reminded him that Jesus would accept every refugee. I should have told him that it's just basic human decency to help those that are down. To rescue victims of senseless wars. I should have sent him these bible passages and more. I should have been the church.



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