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Tuesday: Refugees and Immigrants — 21 Comments

  1. The story of the colonisation of Australia by European settlers is not a pretty one. We virtually ignored that there were people living here and took whatever we wanted, land, forests, food. When some of the Aboriginal folk decided to barbeque a cow or two because we had taken their food sources of food, we rounded them up and killed them. It took a couple of hundred years before we even gave them citizenship, in their own country.

    And then people from countries to the north of us started trying to get into Australia by crossing shark-infested seas in rickety boats. They were desperate to escape their own countries because of war, persecution, hardship and so on. And what do we do? We say no you cannot come. This is our country and we say who comes and does not come.

    The issue is that we have wanted it both ways and both our interactions have been selfish.

    The current refugee situation is a huge problem and even generous countries are struggling to cope with the sheer numbers of people who are arriving at the borders uninvited. Countries trying to be compassionate find themselves financially challenged feeding and housing these guests. While governments mix these issues with politics, there are adjustments we need to make at a personal level.

    I remember many years ago I faced the issue where our church was trying to be helpful to a group of refugees by providing them a meal. Being an introvert, I found it quite challenging to be in a room full of people I did not know. Where do you start? What do you talk about? From my perspective, it was a disaster, I sat there like a "stunned mullet" (Australian colloquialism for "looking stupid"). It taught me that I needed to be much better prepared for such an event than just providing a bit of food.

    It is interesting that the Hebrews were refugees in Egypt and twice in the book of Exodus they were admonished:

    “Don’t abuse or take advantage of strangers; you, remember, were once strangers in Egypt. Ex 22;21 MSG

    “Don’t take advantage of a stranger. You know what it’s like to be a stranger; you were strangers in Egypt. Ex 23:9 MSG

    I don't know how to solve the current refugee crisis but at an individual level we can be generous in our interactions with the strangers in our land

    • What i find curious is that the problem of mass illegal migration is a recent phenomenon....All of USA citizens are immigrants. Yet, until recently, immigrants to USA immigrated legally and became legal citizens of USA, almost without exception....so what has changed?? why is illegal immigration exploded???....could it be that it is failure of government and elected officials??...seems to me that may be the root cause, is that there now is a majority or at least a significant number of elected officials who are not enforcing and prosecuting existing law.

  2. Perhaps the refugee "problem" is similar to other human problems. I am unable to solve the complicated issues related to refugees in America, or any other country. I can treat the refugees I encounter with the respect, love and care Jesus showed any person He encountered. I cannot solve the complicated issues regarding individuals within the LGBTQ community. I can treat those that I encounter with the respect, love and care Jesus showed any human being He encountered. For me as an individual Christian I do not believe I am called to address any people group, but I am called to interact as Christ would interact with each individual person which God places in my life from day to day.

  3. Some of us are blessed by not knowing how it feels to be a refugee or how refugees look like. All in all, as Leviticus 23:22 puts it, we should always have the poor and the refugees in mind even during our harvests (taking our salaries at work). I don't have to be rich in order to reach out to the refugees. There are a number of ways reaching them. Just by supporting my local Sabbath school offering has an impact.
    May God help us in this.

  4. If we dive deep into the heart of Christ, we'll realize that we're all foreigners and immigrants on this planet! Our final home is not here. Our only destiny is the eternal home we were created for, but we denied it. We are all displaced by choosing a different realm. Let's never be content with what we think we've got now, but let's enjoy the journey back to our true origin.

    • I agree, but our role and will for God on this earth, are to spread the gospel of Jesus with everyone (including the refugees); however, the challenge is that our lifestyle and morals are sometimes a stumbling block to true evangelism because of our cultural differences. For example, it is difficult to evangelize to a Muslim refugee.

      • Yep, but by allowing ourselves to be instruments in His hands, the convincement is not ours, but the work of the Holy Spirit, in our hearts and in the one who receives the message.

  5. Refugees are like us. It was the situation they find themselves in,that made them become a refugee. We should always show love,kindness and always extend an helping hand when needed. Also, we should always have Matthew 25v40 in mind when treating people.

    And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25v40

  6. Seeking God first in prayer leads me in my path of mission work, and that involves all kinds of situations and the needs of others. How to perform and what words to say are influenced by the Holy Spirit if I keep my mind stayed on Jesus and the work He did. Even in the midst of each experience I am reminded that each opportunity must consist of a mental state of prayerfulness to keep my SELF from showing up and taking over.

  7. the problem today is not refugees...the problem today is ILLEGAL MIGRATION....this should not be confused with refugees and those who are being persecuted and being forced to leave their native land...as was the case with Family of Jesus. the problem world is facing is a moral and ethical failure of individuals, families and elected officials.

    • We all need much prayer to understand and apply this message to our minds and our hearts. Do our Bibles mention whether Baby Jesus and His parents were legal refugees or otherwise? The objective we find in God’s holy word is that we love and help our neighbors, in whatever ways that we can. That is really the essence of a true Christian: loving and helping others, just like Jesus did. We are ministering to the least of His children, just the same as if we ministered to Him. Blessings, and shalom.

    • C'mon. We have many people coming through the border that are trying to escape evil in their country. How is there a difference. Both types are still coming into the country. My head elder called the people that were bussed to Marthas vineyard refugees. the US has oodles of jobs that its citizens wont do, so there is a place for these, working here.

  8. I am so thankful to see this lesson! Some in our church call refugees illegal aliens (the ones that have recently come into the country). It is as if Christianity stops when it comes to things like this, and I am surprised and appalled that this was even said by our head elder.

    So thankful this lesson is here.

    • The Bible calls us to repentance and stop sinning. Breaking laws human or otherwise is sin.

      Hebrews 10:26-27 gives us the answer to illegal immigration.

      For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

      27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

      • Even so, we are called to love the sinner. We are all sinners, every one. Some sins are more visible, is all. It is not our place to judge others based on what we see when we know nothing about their lives. Jesus called a tax collector to be his disciple.

  9. I have a lot of issues with the tone of this lesson. It is very narrow in its point of view. First of all, Jesus was not a refugee. God sent Him and His family to live in Egypt. Besides the obvious fact that God provided for their needs, Egypt was a Roman province as was Judea, Idumea, Galilee, etc. Joseph was a skilled tradesman. Their were no immigration laws. So, that whole premise falls apart. Secondly, I am an immigrant, maybe even a refugee. I am among people of a different color, race, ethnicity, language, etc. Even the dominant religion is different. I am in no way disadvantaged like the author describes. I am the one ministering to my neighbors, not the other way around. If your only point of view is as an upper middle class or upper class white American, then you are totally missing the point. Blessings to all.

  10. I suppose that it may be good to understand the difference between an immigrant and a refugee. An immigrant chooses to leave his/her country of origin. A refugee, on the other hand, is compelled to seek asylum in another country.

    We desire to minister to the needs of others but I think we need the guiding of the Spirit to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matt 10:16). I cannot say I know exactly what Jesus meant by this...

    What about the prodigal son? Was he an immigrant? Not wanting to be augmentative just sharing the conflict in my own mind on the topic.

    It would seem that even in hospitality there is a level of discernment. What did Jesus mean by "do not cast your pearls before swine" (Matt 7:6)?

    I struggle to find the balance in being open to minister to needs and maintaining some level of discernment.

    • I read that Jesus meant when He said Cast not your pearls before swine means that some of the things which are important to you, may not be as important to someone else. After all, they are YOUR pearls.

    • I take it to mean, don't give what is Holy (you) to the unholy (people who will not appreciate your witness).

      Hosea 4:16-19 Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone!

      Proverbs 31:3 Do not chase after women and lose your strength. Women like that have destroyed kings. (Also applies to a woman chasing the wrong man.)

  11. oday's lesson, especially on Tuesday, has brought so many questions into my mind. How do I treat the "LGBTQ community?". With respect, love and care just like the way Jesus showed any human being He encountered? I am in deep thoughts

    Secondly, as a law-abiding citizen, should I reach the extent of breaking the laws of Malawi while helping refugees who are trying to integrate into the community? What if i help illegal immigrants who are trying to get into my country because in their country, they are running away from some problems?


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