“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34 (ESV)
Today (June 20th) is World Refugee Day.
I read this poem a while back and every time I read it I get choked up. Here’s a little snippet:
“no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.”
This is a small glimpse at what life looks like for a refugee. This is not an easy decision for them to make. No one willingly leaves their home unless things have gotten so bad that in order to stay alive you risk your life to get out. It is a heartbreaking reality that most people cannot fully comprehend (myself included).
In 2014 our church began partnering with World Relief of Fort Worth. Through this organization we have had the opportunity to get to know two different refugee families. In February of 2015 we met our Syrian family who for the past 3 years have stolen our hearts and become our friends who we love so much.
Before meeting the AH family it wasn’t that I didn’t care about the refugee crisis but I just didn’t understand it, so I didn’t understand why it was so important to welcome refugees into our country. I also didn’t understand what the Bible says about how to treat refugees (aka sojourners). Let me just say that the Bible has a lot to say about the subject. Here is a small list of verses made just for World Refugee Day.
We live in a fear driven time right now. We fear each other. We fear outsiders. But that is not how God wants us to live. His perfect love casts out fear. He calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves. He calls us to carry each others burdens. So what does that look like?
It looks like partnering with organizations who help others in need. It looks like going and hanging out with a family even when there is a language barrier. It looks like throwing a baby shower for your sweet friend and being blown away by her own hospitality vs your American standard of finger foods. It looks like hanging out with your sweet friends and ALWAYS being blown away by their hospitality. It looks like smiling at strangers who look different than you. It looks like starting conversations with people and hearing their story. It looks like asking Holy Spirit to help you love people the way Jesus loves them.
What are you going to do today to show support for World Refugee day?