This past week as I’ve been scrolling down my Facebook and Twitter newsfeed, it’s clear to see that social media is buzzing with the recent Paris attacks and refugee crisis. Everything, from articles, links, status updates, to pictures, photos, memes, and countless opinions about the recent disturbing events dominating the news channels. You name it, it’s there! After the recent terrorist attacks and continuing refugee crisis, fresh debates have arisen about how wealthy nations should accept refugees from Syria and other war-ravaged countries. It is one big mess. However, does the Bible have anything to contribute to the debate about what to do? You bet it does! After all, Jesus and his family were also once refugees.
The wisdom of the Bible is both simple and timeless with regards to refugees, foreigners, and displaced people. Here are seven passages from scripture about how Christians should love and treat those in need of help.
Do not mistreat strangers, love them as yourself
“And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33,34)
Do not oppress foreigners
Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)
You will be judged based how you treat foreigners
Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:5)
Be welcoming to strangers
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25:25-36)
Grant foreigners what they ask of you
In the future, foreigners who do not belong to your people Israel will hear of you. They will come from distant lands because of your name, for they will hear of your great name and your strong hand and your powerful arm. And when they pray toward this Temple, then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you. In this way, all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do. They, too, will know that this Temple I have built honors your name. (1 Kings 41-43)
We are all one in Christ
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galations 3:28)
Love your neighbour as yourself
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)
Question: What are you doing to help the refugees, foreigners, and oppressed among you?