In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, it was discovered that portions of the plot originated in Syria. The data are still confusing and unclear, but almost immediately came the fairly predictable response: calls to shut borders and halt the resettlement of refugees (Rubio, Bush, Governors). Caesar will do what Caesar must, or wishes. But agreeing with this line of action is unbiblical for believers.
God’s heart for the refugee was made clear as far back as the Old Testament:
- Deut. 10:18-19 says “The Lord your God loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing; you shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Deut.
- 24:14 instructs the Israelites not to withhold wages of poor and needy laborers, whether citizens or aliens residing in the land.
- 24:17-18 commands not to deprive a resident alien of justice.
The prophets were strong on their response to those oppressed, even foreigners.
- Jeremiah 22:3-5 says, “Do no wrong to or violence to the foreigner…”, Ezekiel 47:21-22 promises an inheritance allotted to aliens; Zechariah 7 commands Israel not to oppress the foreigner. If we discover any particular Syrian to be a Christian, then John 13 applies: “The world will know you are my disciples by your love for one another” (and 1 Corinthians 13 tells us what that love is).
- So does Romans 12:13: “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
If we think of any Syrian as our neighbor–even a hated neighbor–then Luke 10 (the Parable of the Good Samaritan) applies.
If you find the Syrian to be oppressed, fatherless, or a widow, then Isaiah 1 at least applies.
If we find them hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, or oppressed, then Matthew 25 applies. (And in the case of the oppressed, so does Luke 4).
If we think of the possibility of a Syrian as our enemy, who might do us harm, then Romans 12:17-21, especially v. 20: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; in doing this you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
As Christians obedient to God and His Word, we simply have no excuse for turning our back on refugees, whatever the state may decide.</p>