Oh hey! It has been a busy summer…obviously since I haven’t updated since May! I have been trekking along through my reading list which has now become an end of the year list rather than just summer! I have also started student teaching this semester and am having a baby in March! Needless to say, it has been nuts at my house but that is not what I want to talk about today; I want to talk about what is breaking my heart these days.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of Refugee: a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.
The refugee crisis. If you don’t follow the news or live under a rock, due to terrorism, civil war, and some are coming along for a better life, there are currently 12-19 million (different reports) refugees fleeing into the European Union. Just for perspective – in 2014, there were only 10 million people living in the state of Georgia. Also for perspective, I will replace the word with the definition throughout this post.
If you don’t follow Humans of New York, stop what you are doing and follow them any and every way you can. Lately, Brandon of HONY has been featuring
refugee people who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster stories like this one:
Call it pregnancy hormones or my bleeding heart, every single one of his posts bring me to tears.
WARNING: Some may find images and topics distressing.
Or this image
I am not only sickened by the crisis, I am sickened by apathy. I am sickened by lack on knowledge, lack of desire for knowledge, and prejudice. Just a few things that have come across my newsfeed and in conversations that make me physically ill:
A “quote” from a well-respected Christian activist (I will not post the name because after some fact-checking, it was not true): We should not allow Muslim refugees – we didn’t allow Japanese and Germans during WWII, we shouldn’t allow Muslims now. (paraphrase)
The classic: “We are in America, why should we care?”
And this gem: “‘Refugees’…lol…..ISIS is more like it…the World is under attack and these terrorist are playing to our ignorant humanitarian ways”
I know, I know… you are telling me, “But Elizabeth, people can’t be bothered with fact-checking. It is so much easier just to click ‘share’! Plus, we have our own problems here in the US that we can’t even handle.”
My biggest issue, one that HONY is doing an excellent job of describing, is that these are people, real people.
Like this woman:
This isn’t just one story or a hundred stories; there are millions.
refugee person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster has a story of how they left their homes and fled for safety, they may have stories of being turned away or stories of being accepted and helped.
Do I believe terrorist may take advantage of this situation to further their agenda? Absolutely. Do I believe every
refugee person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster is a terrorist because of their faith? No. Do I believe we should not take risks for the good in people to help those in need? Yes. Do I believe we should still be vigilant in screening individuals seeking asylum? Yes. Do I believe we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus? Yes.
Matthew 25:35-40 ESV says, “‘…For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you , or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? and when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the kng will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”
So what do we do?
The short answer is I don’t know. Pray for the
refugees person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster, pray for those screening refugees person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster, pray for our leaders and European leaders, stay informed, FACT-CHECK YOUR INFORMATION, think before you speak/post/tweet/etc.
There will be a follow up post with some ideas on how to help. What do you think we should do?