Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner...
With the threat of undercover terrorists it seems a little difficult to sort out. I get that.
But on the other hand - while I realize there are still practical issues to wade through carefully - if we turn to God's Word where it actually speaks to socio-political ethics - it does seem to clear up pretty well what our obligations are. So what are our obligations?
First things first: What does Scripture say about sojourners (non-citizens living in the land)?
Now this speaks to sojourners, non-citizens living in the land. It assumes these non-citizens migrated peacefully, and, by implication, that all who desire to sojourn in the land are welcome provided one caveat: that once in the land they abide by the laws of the land.
I think it's pretty clear that this not only applies to refugees, but to anyone seeking to live in our land - any sojourner (yes - Mexicans and South Americans should be welcomed - Canadians too, but that doesn't seem to really be an "issue"). We let them in without all the red tape, but we hold them accountable to our laws (which, consequently should reflect the just laws of God - Deut. 4:8, 32:4; Heb. 2:2).
This seems all pretty clear to me in regard to sojourners. But I think the Bible is even more clear in regard to refugees:
You shall not give up to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall dwell with you, in your midst, in the place that he shall choose within one of your towns, wherever it suits him. You shall not wrong him.
Now don't let the word "slave" throw you off. The word has a semantic range like most words, and in the context of this passage it's speaking of people escaping from an evil government. Considering that with the exception of the original Canaan conquest, Israel was commanded to engage only in defensive warfares (Deut. 20:10-18), and the passage just preceding this one is speaking of being encamped against an enemy nation (Deut. 23:9-14), it's pretty clear that the "slaves" escaping their masters here are what in modern times we would call refugees.
Taken as a whole, I'd say it's very obvious we have a duty not to turn away refugees who are seeking to sojourn in our country - provided again, of course, that they abide by our laws (which, again should reflect the laws of God).
But what about using our tax dollars to get them here?
At first, I'm almost inclined to say, "yes, use our tax dollars to bring them here." In the end, I don't think we should use any tax dollars to get them here. I don't think legalized theft is any less immoral than illegal theft.
But why that initial inclination?
It's kind of hard to imagine what the world would look like if the U.S. didn't stick its nose in other people's business. (For the views to which I'm referring feel free to read "America's Place in Brining Peace to the Middle East," and "Loving Our Neighbors in the Crimean Crisis.")
Did our disregard of God's Word, when it comes to military intervention in foreign affairs, lead to the rise of ISIS and the consequent influx of refugees?
I'm inclined to say yes. But I'm also of the persuasion that two wrongs don't make a right. So even if that was the case - that our tax dollars being misappropriated did cause this situation - that doesn't mean we need to further take our citizens' money by force in order to rectify the situation.
However, I do think private citizens - and especially churches - ought to be involved in helping the refugees as much as they can. In that regard the refugees most certainly are our concern.
Talk about a grand opportunity for the spread of the gospel!
As a church our commission is to make disciples of all nations - without doubt this implies taking such a great opportunity in helping the refugees of those nations that are fleeing to us for help. Now is a perfect time for the body of Christ to get involved. And shame on us if we don't!
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?"
Yes, but what about the possibility of them being ISIS combatants disguised as refugees?
What about it? They don't deserve God's love or our compassion? True - they don't! But who does?
Did we deserve God's love or compassion before He himself brought us to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ? Weren't we also "foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another" (Ti. 3:3)?
The Bible says we didn't deserve His compassion - we were His enemies (Rom. 5:10) - but that even though we didn't deserve it He saved us anyway, "not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy" (Ti. 3:4). Scripture then goes on to tell us likewise to love our enemies (Mt. 5:44ff; Lk. 6:27-28; Rom. 12:14; 1 Pet. 3:9ff).
It's true that there might be enemies disguised as refugees, but secretly seeking to come here and kill and destroy us. But even given that, as I've stated elsewhere, we do have a right and duty to protect our own lives and families in self-defense. Thousands of armed citizens should be able to protect themselves from a hundred or so "refugee" combatants.
All the more reason to put our trust in God and preach the gospel all the more boldly, as we minister to those who truly are refugees, who are seeking to escape the despotism of their homeland and live in safety with their families.
To give voluntarily in helping the refugees, I highly recommend Samaritan's Purse.
Regardless of the amount you give, pray for them; and remember that as Christians, it is our duty - in the power of the Spirit - to love our neighbors and even our enemies, not to build a higher wall or ignore them.
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
I'm a sinner saved by God's amazing grace through the the precious blood of Jesus Christ and the glorious quickening of the Holy Spirit.
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