I really enjoy reading the news! It is not just part of my daily routine; I am constantly online reading articles and watching videos from many different sources to learn about what is happening. However, like most of us, I am often bothered by the news. I do not enjoy hearing stories about all of the bad things that are happening in our nation or around the world. Having said that, I am even more bothered by some of the stories that do not make news.
Western media does not cover many of the struggles that people are facing around the world. I am sure that sometimes there is simply too much to cover. Other times, they will cover international disasters for a while and then move on to the next topic to keep viewers interested. The coverage ends, but the crisis does not.
I think this happened with the refugee crisis. Refugees, especially those from Syria, were a major headline a couple of years ago. However, they are a side topic in media and in conversation today.
Unfortunately, the global refugee crisis is only getting worse.
Here are some facts from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:
• 55% of the refugees worldwide come from South Sudan, Syria, or Afghanistan.
• Other refugee emergencies are taking places in Yemen, Iraq, Myanmar, and several parts of Africa.
• 28,300 people are forced to leave their homes every day because of conflict and persecution.
• There are 65.6 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. That number is growing every year.
HOW SHOULD INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIANS RESPOND TO THIS CRISIS?
The Old Testament is clear about how we should treat refugees and other foreigners. Leviticus 19:33-34 says, “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”
Jesus, who was a refugee in Egypt as a child, told us in Matthew 25:35 that His righteous followers would invite strangers into their homes. When we take a deeper look at that verse, we discover that the word for “stranger” in New Testament Greek is “zeons,” which literally translates to “foreigner.”
Finally, the Apostles also taught that we should care for foreigners. Romans 12:13 says, "Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” In this passage “hospitality,” which is “philozenian” in New Testament Greek, translates to “love foreigners.”
Individual Christians are told to help refugees and other foreigners, but that often seems like such a daunting and far-away problem. Here are a few practical ways that you can help.
Pray for refugees.
Give to faith-based organizations that are working to help refugees.
Serve refugees in your community. God has brought the nations to us! Over 10% of the refugees in the world call the United States home and some live right down the street in Indianapolis.