It is being labelled a Global Refugee Crisis. Not since World War 2 has our world seen so many refugees and internally displaced people. The UN Refugee Agency has reported that at the end of last year there was a shocking 65.3 million refugees worldwide. And though many countries including Canada continue to welcome more people in each year to make this country their home, what is the church's response to this increasing issue? It's a polarizing debate as there are many who say we must love our neighbour and welcome the stranger in; and many who will point to the terrorist attacks in Turkey; Paris; the US and in many other countries and wonder if there is a limit to us rolling out the welcome mat. Well today I'm joined by the US director of church mobilization for World Relief, an international relief and development organization. Matthew Soerens co-authored the book "Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis".
Jesus himself was a refugee. We tend to forget that. As Mary, Joseph and Jesus fled to Egypt, we can only guess the experience they had. Were they welcomed? Matthew understands the fear that people and the church may have about refugees coming to Canada. However we also have to ask: what refugees are running away from? What kind of horror and terror makes a mother and father get on that boat?
The first question we have to ask as Christians is: should fear be governing us?
Safety is good. We all want safety in our lives, but it cannot be our first priority as Christians. Our first priority needs to be to love our neighbours and make disciples of all the nations. These biblical commands are repeated over and over in scripture.
Then we can look at the facts. Matthew explains that we do not have much to be afraid of. There is no situation that is zero risk, but the risk involved in welcoming refugees into Canada and the United States is very minimal. There is a screening and a vetting process. Anyone coming to North America as a refugee is screened. Matthew states that we want to make sure the Church is there to welcome the refugees at the airport.
We need to remember that refugees are not the ones creating these crimes. Many refugees would love to go home. Many are Christians leaving their home country as well and are being persecuted.
We have so much to learn from them.
To get your copy of "Seeking Refuge" CLICK HERE