Okay, let me start by saying that this is not about what the U.S. or any other country should do about the Syrian refugee crisis. It’s a complex issue that has a complex answer, and I am just a simple science teacher whose opinion really can’t sway anyone, and I don’t have any answers anyway.
However, in processing the whole thing in my own head, I am struck by a metaphor that I wanted to share. The refugees as a group are lost, scared, and without a place to shelter. They are looking to leave behind them a place of brokenness, sadness, danger. It is a place that they realize is no longer home to them. They are looking for hope, and they looking for a fresh start. However, hidden amongst them is perhaps an an element of evil, individuals who could use the granted asylum to penetrate the defenses of a well meaning nation. Opening our country makes us vulnerable. There is risk. There is no guarantee that our good will while saving many wouldn’t be abused by a small fraction.
Here’s the metaphor that I just can’t shake. When I first approached Christ as my Savior, I was lost. I was scared. I was without a shelter.
I was looking to leave behind a place of brokenness, sadness, and danger, a place not home to me.
I was looking for hope and a fresh start.
And, hidden deep in my heart, is an element of darkness. I hope I would never be capable of the kind of violence that we have seen in our world of late. But though I might never murder, Jesus himself tells us, You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Be angry with my brother or sister? Uh-oh. Use sharp, cutting words that wound hearts and spirits? Not good.
Do I unfairly pass judgement? Do I reject? Do I exclude? Do I boast? Do I gloat? Do I covet? Do I contain some element that will wreak havoc somewhere to someone? I did, and I do. Be assured, I do.
And yet despite the fact that God knew me, knew my deceitful heart, saw clearly the element of darkness that I tried so hard to conceal, He also saw my heart as lost and broken, in need of shelter. He saw my hope for something better, my hope to be better, and He never flinched. He never wavered or questioned. He saw me, saw mostly that I was wretched and alone and in need of a safe harbor, but also that I was dangerous and came with risk. He saw me and despite the fact that I would fail Him, He would not fail me. He took me in, and I was a refugee no more. He saw me, as he sees you and He says ‘Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.’
As I said, I have no answers for the complicated problem of refugees. It is a complicated problem with complicated answers. What I do know is this: I was lost and broken and a little bit dangerous. With full knowledge and understanding of who I am, I was taken in.