Refugees: The “Other”

syria refugee muslimA teenager tortured me for hours this morning by cruising the neighborhood on a motorbike. He’s old enough to be an ISIS fighter, or at least to have a part-time job. This boy spent Saturday morning playing instead. How many middle-class American Christians, young and old, are just like him? They spend weekends watching or attending games, or they go hunting, fishing, or golfing. But when a poor, hard-working Arab Muslim refugee shows up on their doorstep, they pitch a fit.

  • Paris, France: European, Christian, rich, educated
  • Damascus, Syria: Middle Eastern, Muslim, poor, illiterate

Some Syrians are rich, educated, or Christian. Likewise, some French are Arab or African. Some are atheists or Muslims. Some are poor too. But from across the pond, this simplified contrast is what we see. We pray for Paris and shun Syrian refugees as a result. We can’t handle the ‘other,’ people outwardly different from us. Should the external package matter in how we treat people? Can we not see them as God does? Can we not look on their hearts, believing or unbelieving, and welcome them in the name of Jesus Christ? These people can become fellow brothers and sisters, praying and worshipping alongside us, if we let them. How can we refuse such a divine opportunity?

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