The ongoing civil war in Syria has produced a heartbreaking humanitarian crisis. It now appears the US government will allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States in 2015. When the refugees arrive, I encourage the Christian community to respond as Jesus would. While it is possible some of the refugees might be ISIS plants or terrorists of some sort, this is no excuse for us to ignore what will be a wonderful opportunity to help meet the overwhelming needs these refugees will have. In fact, the model Jesus left us was to care for the widow and orphan, to feed the hungry, to heal the sick, and care for the wounded. These refugees will have faced the extreme stress of watching their homes and neighborhoods destroyed by war, watching friends and family members killed, losing all their earthly possessions, traveling hundreds of miles on foot, and being displaced in a strange and foreign land. They won’t know the language or culture, won’t know their way around, won’t know how to access basic necessities like food, transportation, education, labor markets, and medical care.
What an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus! Could there be a better chance to live out our faith, embrace these frightened and battered refugees, and show them the love of Christ? Consider preparing now to meet the needs of these refugees. Talk to your friends and acquaintances and organize a group committed to meeting these needs. Consult with local charitable organizations that cater to refugees. Be prepared to act when the Syrians arrive in your city. If they do not come to your city, use the preparations you’ve made to minister to whatever other refugees might have similar needs in your city.