Our Kids Will Challenge How We Responded to the Refugee Crisis
Jesus told Pilate His Kingdom was not from this world. He said the proof it was from somewhere else was how His followers would not resist the evil of the Roman empire through violence. Pilate, in this same conversation, asks Jesus a rhetorical question.
“What is truth?”
By account of Jesus’ followers, Pilate is asking this question to the person of Truth himself.
Jesus, of course, is about to be inaugurated as the King of kings through His brutal death at the hands of Pilate’s soldiers. But He couldn’t answer Pilate’s question in a satisfactory way, because Pilate was unwilling to hear Him.
Doubting the truth, you see, allows you to wash your hands of the situation.
Christians claim Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, right here and now. They confess every other power is being brought under His peaceful rule.
As a consequence of this, Jesus’ Kingdom isn’t like other kingdoms. He doesn’t use violence to force His will on others–but He does compel us through His embodied love and radical forgiveness. He doesn’t manipulate people through the same political tricks other emperors use–but He does make a profound difference on our politics.
And the matter we are called to respond to, as Christians in the world today, is the international refugee crisis.
As a child hearing about the Holocaust, I often wondered what I would do if I were alive at the time of the Jewish persecution. I questioned how millions of Germans–some of them my ancestors–were able to stand idly by while their government slaughtered an entire ethnicity. I wondered how other nations could close their borders to the most vulnerable victims of this horror. It now seems so strange, in hindsight, that some would fear these Jewish refugees would harbour some nefarious plot to bring down their country.
I don’t have to wonder what I would do, anymore. I’m living in this hour. As a Christian, I must respond to it.
Our children will question how many of us shut our borders and our homes to Syrians who fled the murderous rampage of another brutal dictator. They will wonder why we put our own interests first at the expense of the most exploited, and the most vulnerable.
But if they remember us–and if we claimed to give them a legacy of Christian faith–I hope they will remember our resistance.
Not our resistance through violence. We know Jesus’ Kingdom comes by another way. Instead, I hope they remember our courage to speak out against injustice. I hope they are emboldened by our resolve to be Pro-Life all the way from the womb to the tomb–instead of just focusing on the stages and nationalities of life some prefer to protect over others.
I hope they will see how we pray for our leaders.
I hope they will witness our staggering generosity.
We cannot require the world to submit to Jesus. If He didn’t demand our loyalty, He doesn’t ask us to extort it out of others. But we cannot question the truth of our present day when we claim He is standing before us. And He is standing before us, as He said He would. He’s disguised in the face of the refugee.
His example of enemy-love, His call for us to love and welcome the foreigner and the stranger, and His solidarity of the poor are unquestionable.
Even people who don’t believe He is their King know precisely what He stands for.
If we do not act like the King we claim to serve, we will doubt the truth like Pilate did. We will lean on rhetorical questions about security and authority, and we’ll question who really has the power to change things. Then we’ll wash our hands while they execute Him.
What then, must we do?
We should give money. And we should give it before we pray. It’s easy to toss up “thoughts and prayers” during tragedies without any personal sacrifice. If our treasure reveals where our heart is, then we can move our hearts by moving our treasure. It’s time to do whatever we can to give towards resolving the crisis.
Our opinions about the issues of our time are worth precisely as much as the money we give to those causes. I’ve heard several people make compelling political arguments I ultimately disagree with–but I trust their hearts because they give their money and time to help the poor and the immigrant they can actually reach.
For my fellow believers, here are excellent organizations you can donate to–before you even finish reading:
*My uncle is involved in this great organization. Millenium works not only to provide relief in vulnerable areas, but to develop infrastructure and economy in those areas–this way, those in need can become self-sustaining. Learn More
*Our great friends, Cassandra and Edison Lee, direct this phenomenal organization. They are transforming the heart of Africa! Learn More
Just to be clear–these are giving opportunities you don’t have to pray about.
Nobody is forcing you to give, but God will never condemn you for your sacrifice, either.
Of course, we also must fast and pray. But we must specifically pray for the leaders we are most tempted to despise. Donald Trump, for example, needs our prayers. His recent decisions will have devastating effects on real people, all around the world. So did Obama’s decisions, when he deported people–and when he ordered devastating drone strikes in vulnerable areas to kill people without due process all around the world.
While I must stand in opposition to some of the choices our leaders make, I also refuse to dishonour either of them. The American president is the head of the most powerful nation on earth–therefore, he is the emperor Peter instructs us to honour. I cannot despise or criticize anyone, especially while neglecting my God-given role of intercession for the sake of creating peace. Assad, Trudeau, Merkel, and others all need our prayers too–even as we sometimes participate in compassionate opposition and protest. They might not have the privilege of knowing our King like we do.
Finally, we must put the Truth before our politics.
If you are a Christian, you are responsible to open your arms to refugees.
You might have opinions about what other, lesser kingdoms should do about the crisis at hand. If you live under a democracy, your nation gives you a right to make up your own mind about public policy. But if you are a citizen of the Kingdom, you must maintain a loyalty to Heaven before you take up a political perspective about your country of current residence.
Our King gave us a radically different set of values. His values will sometimes run contrary to the world’s definition of “peace and safety”. Your opinions about the business of other empires must be submitted to the King you claim to serve, even when He seems so impractical. You only get one allegiance.