This post comes from one of our most experienced BGR staff members who has worked “hands on” with refugees and refugee projects worldwide for over a decade. Below are simple yet profound lessons for any of us feeling called or thinking about working with refugees.
- Overcome any prejudice, fear, and any doubts about refugees that creep into our lives from the media and other non-biblical sources. The Bible is clear that we, the body of Christ, must care for the widow, the orphan and the “alien/stranger” living among us.
- Understand what it means to be “forcibly displaced.” Why would a person leave all their possessions and familiar surroundings behind and move to a strange new place to live?
- Start seeing refugees with the compassion of Christ and not the views of the world. Are we not all aliens in a foreign land, looking for a city whose founder and builder is God?
- Welcome them into our country, culture, and Christian way of life.
- Realize that we are commanded by the Bible to show love in a tangible way and meet felt needs. One of the greatest ways to show love to a forcibly displaced person is to simply get to know them. When we are involved in the life of a person in need, get over our own fears and preconceived notions.
- Be the first person to welcome a refugee family into their new home. This can be the foundation of a long-term relationship where they can over and over see the love of God demonstrated and have a chance to hear the truth of who He is.
- Be their friend. You can become their advocate (“paraclete” – John 14:16) and pray that they will move from “friend” category to brother/sister in Christ.
Remember, they are probably just as fearful meeting you as you are meeting them. And, you may be the first real follower of Jesus Christ that they have ever met. Wouldn’t it be something if, because of our love for those displaced, one day we would hear Jesus say,…
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me…Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Other posts about refugees: