The recent tragedies in Paris, Beirut, Kenya, San Bernadino and other places around the world have raised an enormous amount of discussion on social media, radio talk shows and on television. Not only are people asking the “why” questions, but people, politicians, church and ministry leaders and nations as a whole are wondering what can be done about the growing threat of terrorism and the resulting refugee crises.
The US government has announced they will accept about 10,000 Syrian refugees, and an additional 75,000 refugees from around the world through the end of 2016. Currently 27 states have indicated that they will not accept refugees from Syria. Security issues have surfaced. Millions of people have become fearful. Political debate has become heated. There doesn’t seem to be a clear way forward.
The Christian community in the US is also divided on this issue. Some Christian leaders are suggesting we should welcome refugees and immigrants with open arms, others believe we should not accept any refugees from Muslim nations. Even among Christians fear of refugees and immigrants from the Middle East is widespread.
Perhaps now is a good time for us as believers to reflect on what the Scriptures have to say about immigrants and refugees and how we should respond. We have been thinking and praying about this and would like to share two key thoughts, as well as let you know how DAI is responding to the growing numbers of immigrants to North America.
We should be motivated by love and not by fear. I John 4:18 tells us that “There is no fear in love. But perfect loves drives out fear. . . “. We know God loves the world so much He gave us His only Son. Our challenge is to see immigrants and refugees, no matter where they come from, what their religion or ideology is, or what they look like, through the eyes of God’s love.
God wants everyone to have relationship with Him. I Timothy 2:1-6 says “I urge, then, . . . that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— . . . that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people”. Christ died for all —you, me, the immigrant, the refugee, and even the terrorist. We need to see the coming of the nations to North America as part of God’s desire to have relationship with all the peoples of the earth and to fulfill his vision as expressed in Revelations 7:9-10. “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”
How is DAI responding? For 20 years DAI has been equipping Christian leaders around the globe with the tools they need to be effective servant leaders impacting their ministries, communities and nations. Our staff come from more than 20 countries. Some of us are refugees and others are immigrants to the nations we now call home. With the world coming to North America, we are continuing the work of mentoring, coaching and training Christian leaders right here in “our own backyard”. We are already working with Arabic, Spanish and Burmese speaking communities to train people to lead their churches and communities with effectiveness and integrity. We are committed to seeing this strategic work grow as God continues to bring the world to us and expand the cultural mosaic of North America.
We invite you to stand with us as we love the “alien in our midst“ (Deuteronomy 10:19) and work with Christian leaders from the far corners of the globe who are now living in North America. We believe the Gospel is the key to solving the challenge of terrorism. Let’s love our new neighbors and let’s live out the Good News.
Learn more about DAI’s work in North America.