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Google, Jesus, Sheep and Goats

It’s 8:00 at night on Thursday, and I am pushing the deadline for this blog post. Even for me. Some weeks, I can’t think of anything to write about. But that’s not this week. This week, all I can think about is the one thing I know I need to write about.

I have a long list of reasons I shouldn’t write about the Syrian refugees. I don’t know enough about the situation. I don’t understand it. I’m uneducated about it.

It would be easier to stay quiet. And that’s largely what I’ve done.

I spent the last hour researching, my google search engine filling up.

Christians and refugees.

How should Christians respond to Syria?

Jesus and Syrian refugees.

I wanted there to be a simple, clear, black and white answer. Instead, I was greeting by hatred and anger and fear. And I closed my search window feeling even more confused and unsettled than before.

So I walked away from my computer. I walked away from the vitriol spewed by faceless people on the internet.

Because, in the end, all I wanted to know was, would Jesus take in refugees? Not would the governor of a particular state. The president of a particular country.

Would Jesus take in a refugee.

As a Christian, I think we can get lost in the questions and debates. We can be overrun by anger and self-preservation. And in those moments, in my own life, I have to stop and ask myself, am I trying to be like Jesus?

Most of the time I’m not.

And really, that’s all I would ask of you. Look at His teachings. Read His words. Reflect on His life. Remember that He was criticized. Crucified. Society didn’t like what He was doing.

Society might not like what you’re doing either.

When I closed Google tonight, I picked up my copy of The Message. I know, it’s not a translation. But sometimes it shakes up familiar scripture for me. And that’s what it did tonight.

I read. I reflected. And I wrote this post. Because it’s not okay for me to be quiet anymore.

“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’ — Matthew 25:41-45 MSG

 

Brandy Campbell

Brandy is a full-time writer at an international organization that works with more than 1.2 million children in poverty. She is a writer, a storyteller, a yarn spinner and a pen pal. She's also a baker, a world traveler, a daughter, a friend and an aunt. She hates mornings, olives, cheap pens, snakes and splinters.

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6 Comments

    Andrea

    20th Nov 2015 - 3:06 pm

    i think you found your simple, clear, black or white answer.

      Brandy Campbell

      20th Nov 2015 - 5:59 pm

      Well, there are undeniably gray areas and we all have to interpret and figure out our own personal convictions. And it’s certainly not easy, regardless of the outcome.

    Beth Landau

    20th Nov 2015 - 4:14 pm

    Within and without Christianity, this lesson is simple. It is at the root of our humanity. It is no challenge to stick to your principles and the teachings of your faith or belief system when they benefit or do not directly affect your life, livelihood or feelings of security. The challenge lies sticking to your principles when there is real or perceived risk to you. I understand the hesitation, the hypocrisy. I wrestle with it. Most everyone wrestles with it. That, too, is at the root of our humanity. But, for knowledge’s sake, know what we really believe, it is important for each of us to ask: If there was no risk to me or mine, what would I do? Thanks for not being silent, Brandy.

      Brandy Campbell

      20th Nov 2015 - 6:01 pm

      I agree, Beth! It’s not just a Christian question or dilemma…it’s a human question. Thank you so much for reading and responding. I so value your thoughts!

    Suzanne Simpson

    20th Nov 2015 - 5:24 pm

    I come to the same conclusion. Welcoming refugees seems to be controversial in nations around the world right now, not just in our nation. It’s a good thing the world is a big place and all countries and states aren’t closing their doors to the ones who have made it through the process of entering whichever nation. One family previously approved and headed to one state had to be redirected when their target state voted to close their doors to Syrian refugees, but fortunately there was room in another state for them. Mary and Joseph on a journey required by the political powers of the day ended up in a stable, for there was no room for them in any inn. May our merciful best shine forth as we answer requests of those seeking a safe home. No doubt the decisions are complex, with many aspects of safety for all to be considered. May God work through God’s people to relieve the suffering.

      Brandy Campbell

      20th Nov 2015 - 6:03 pm

      I love your thoughts, especially about our “merciful best.” Thank you so much!

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