With President Obama vowing to bring over 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States, conservatives — including a great number of self-professed Christians — are lining up to stop the influx of people from the Middle East, some of whom they believe might be terrorists.
Following the attacks in Paris that left nearly 130 people dead, the governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin have vowed to block Syrian refugees from being placed in their states.
While many acknowledge that it is their Christian duty to help those in need, fears that one or two of the refugees might turn out to be a terrorist have them leaving destitute women and children out in the cold.
With writer Oliver Willis noting : “If only we had a seasonally appropriate story about middle eastern people seeking refuge being turned away by the heartless,” a perusal of the Bible demonstrates that Jesus left very specific instructions about how “Christian charity” — which is named after him — should be applied.
We begin with the story of the Good Samaritan starting in Luke 10:25.
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Along similar veins:
- Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
- Matthew 25:35-40 “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
- James 2:14-17 “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
- Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”
- 1 John 3:17 “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”
- James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
And, of course, Philippians 2:4
- “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”