A couple of weeks ago, I wrote some initial thoughts on the refugee crisis. I mentioned that there is so much we cannot know in order to determine whether or not we should support taking in refugees. After listening to endless officials and pundits over the last several weeks analyze and argue their views, I still don’t know if letting refugees in is safe or not.
What I do know is that the idea of absolute physical safety is an illusion. I’m sitting in front of the TV now watching reports of a mass shooting in San Bernadino, California that is unfolding live before my eyes. There are no details yet on who did it or why, but if follows closely on the heals of another shooting that took place in Colorado less than a week ago.
My point is simply that whether or not there are refugees, there will be danger. Always. Danger is already here. The potential for and reality of mass killing is a domestic problem as much as a foreign one. Terrorists can already get into our country and reports are they’re already here. All of this is outside of my control. What is not outside of my control is how I think about and what I do for people in need. I can allow myself to become fearful, paranoid and cynical, or I can choose to live a life of fearless compassion in a dangerous world.
I have no control over who does or does not come into the Unites States. So, with so many unknown variables, I fall back on who I am, who I’m called to be and what I believe about God and about people. I am called to love and care for those God brings to me to love and care for.
Because of what I don’t know, I neither argue for nor against the acceptance of refugees. As I stated in my last post, there are really good arguments on both sides. Frankly, I don’t see a reason to pick a side. I can look at it philosophically, theologically and ethically and argue a position, but last I checked, those who make the decision don’t ask what my views are. That’s not to say that speaking up isn’t important, but on this issue, I can’t know what I don’t know; I can’t make a fully informed opinion (and there are enough uniformed opinions already out there).
What I CAN do is respond to what actually happens. I can work towards helping those families who might enter the Country and do what I can to show them the love of Christ, if it is determined that they will be allowed to do so. That’s what I’m called to already, even though I so often do an inadequate job as it is…but I can work on improving. I can refuse to operate out of fear. I can trust in a sovereign God who will ultimately determine whether or not refugees from Syria or any other nation enter our borders. Many times, God calls us out to the Nations…sometimes, God calls the Nations to us.
I can’t decide what will happen. I can decide how I will respond.