“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
There’s been a lot of controversy lately about how the United States should react to the flood of Syrian and other refugees driven from their homes by violence and the constant threat of death. This controversy has been driven to a very public stage by the horrific Paris attacks last week. Scores of governors have attempted to keep these refugees out of their states citing fears that militant extremists might be masquerading as refugees.
I believe that as Christians we should do everything within our power to help these poor refugees, even if it means exposing ourselves and our communities to some amount of risk.
Because. We are refugees too. At least, we ought to be. We were displaced from our Homeland by war.
“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back.” (Rev. 12:7)
We were displaced because we followed the enemy. We each, individually, chose to follow Satan’s path. We rebelled against God’s government, and for the safety of Heaven, He had to expel us. “So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Gen. 3:24)
But God saw our plight, and He provided a way–at an infinite risk to His government and His perfect Country. “Never can the cost of our redemption be realized until the redeemed shall stand with the Redeemer before the throne of God. Then as the glories of the eternal home burst upon our enraptured senses we shall remember that Jesus left all this for us, that He not only became an exile from the heavenly courts, but for us took the risk of failure and eternal loss. Then we shall cast our crowns at His feet, and raise the song, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.’ Rev 5:12” (DA 131.2)
If God risked His very existence for us, how can we refuse to help our fellow refugees in earthly exile? How can we not use every opportunity we have to tell those who have no country here on earth that they have a passport to a Better Land, if they will accept it?
We have been forgiven a very great debt. If we refuse to extend a helping hand to those in need, how are we any better than the servant of Matthew 18? He owed a great debt, but when he begged his Master for forgiveness, the master wiped away his debts. He then went to his fellow servant who owed him a comparatively small sum (though still large), and demanded payment. When his fellow servant couldn’t pay, he had him thrown in prison. “Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’” (Matt 18:32)
We are called to love. Love always costs. It cost God the life of His Son.
It will cost us, too.