The Refugee Crisis
As all people, I have to approach things with all parts of who I am.
I am a moderate.
I am a Christian.
I am technically a Millennial, but almost a GenXer.
I am a husband.
I am a father.
I am a geek.
I am complicated.
I am more than this list, and the order of that list isn’t necessary the order of its importance.
But some things are simple. So simple. Some things don’t need all parts of the above incomplete list. Some things I can simply turn to a single part.
I am a Christian. And to the Refugee Crisis I can’t but continue to think of a parable in the bible, told by Jesus.
In Luke 10:30–37 Jesus is asked, “Who is my neighbor?” His response is as follows:
Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
I’ve chosen the New Living Translation to help make clear a particular point for anyone not familiar with the Bible. At the point in time this story was told, the Samaritan were a reviled people to the audience Jesus was speaking with. They hated Samaritans thoroughly. You can see this, as even when the man must admit the Samaritan was a good neighbor, he won’t use the word Samaritan.
It would have shocked Jesus’ audience, and that was his intention.
What if I changed a few words in this story? What if I replaced the man attacked by bandits with a Syrian (or other) refugee escaping horror, persecution, and death. What if in place of Samaritan I put in some group of people you look down upon. (May there be truly none)
Would your actions and thoughts shame you? Or would they match that of the Good Samaritan?
Jesus taught us that titles mean nothing. A priest and a Temple assistant walked away and did nothing. But the reviled man did the right thing.
Jesus easily could have added details. The priest could have said, “But this could be a larger trick. He might actually hurt me.” The temple assistant could have said, “How do I know he did not deserve this? And what if he threatens my job once healed?” And their actions still would have been wrong.
I am fortunate enough to have been born in a country and a race where the greatest strife I know is voting for people I do not believe in. I will never be hated because of the color of my skin, my gender, or the place of my birth.
The greatest lesson I can learn is to extend what fortune I have to others. No matter how others might revile me for it.
The Refuge Crisis is a single great turning point of our times. It will be remembered in history books. How we are remembered is up to us.