Open Doors For Those Who Need Christ
I've been holding back from sharing my opinion on the Syrian refugee crisis and the continual fear of terrorists that everyone is talking about these days, but I guess it's time for me to share my opinion - even though I know it's going to be very unpopular. Yeah, my biblical worldview opinion is unpopular again! ha. Guess that's to be expected in the world we live in today...
I am glad that Muslim refugees are coming to America because this is the greatest opportunity most of them will ever have to hear the Gospel Message and respond to the amazing life they can find through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
In many of the Muslim countries they are coming from it is illegal for anyone to have a Bible, believe in Christ, or proselytize. As we work to complete the Great Commission, God may be shuffling the world's population so that everyone has a chance to hear that Jesus Christ is "The way, the truth, and the life - the only way to get to God the Father in Heaven." As it becomes even more difficult for us to take that message to Muslim countries, He may be bringing them here to hear that life-giving message!
“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” Acts 17:26-28.
I've heard many say that they're afraid for their lives because Muslim refugees are coming here. My perspective on that is rare as well. I am not afraid for my life. My eternal life is secure. This place is not my home. If I have to give my life so that there is a chance that the Gospel message will be planted in the life of someone who is on their way to an eternity separated from God - then I'm okay with that!
I will be in heaven when I die. They will not. Everyone dies someday. I think we've forgotten this important fact! Only those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ will live with Him forever. Those who have not (no matter what country their from - no matter which false religion they follow) will be forever separated from Him.
I think that American "Christianity" is far too associated with materialism and comfort! No, I don't believe that this is a true Christianity. There are so many who sit in our pews each week who are going to be disappointing on judgement day, when they hear Jesus say:
"Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?" And then will I declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness." Matthew 7:21-23
We have allowed a false view of relationship with Christ to seep into the very foundation of what many of us believe. We want to keep our "enemies" far away from us - as if what we own here on earth is our true treasure. I'd gladly give it all up if it would mean that others would come to know Christ.
Jesus said to love your enemy (Matthew 5:43-48), sacrifice for neighbor (Luke 10:25-37), welcome the refugee (Numbers 35:6 - partially taken out of context, but I think it supports a biblical theme of caring for refugees rather than condemning them), we minister to Jesus as we minister to those in their times of need (Matthew 25), we are to care for widows and orphans (James 1:27), and that love lays down ones own life for someone else (John 15:13). Nowhere does Jesus imply that this WILL NOT COST YOU!!!
No, in fact He said:
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26.
"Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:27.
"So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33.
When Jesus gave the rich young ruler the choice between giving up the things that he counted precious to him - or following Christ, the rich young man decided to hold his treasure here on earth instead...
"Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." Mark 10:22.
I think that we too often mix up the American Dream with our concept of heaven. America is not heaven. America is not a utopia. We should not be comfortable here. We should not amass wealth and toys while neglecting caring for others. We should not protect the freedoms we experience in this country for ourselves without extending those freedoms to others - even if there is the potential that they will harm us.
“And he [Jesus] said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:15-21.
Iam very thankful for those in the military who have fought for our freedom, and who are fighting for it today, but that is not just "my freedom!" It's for all of those who live in this country. Sure, I think that we need to protect against those who want to do us harm, but the day we close our doors to those who are oppressed, who need a home, or who are seeking freedom, is the day we lose sight of what true freedom is all about.
So, perhaps rather than closing our doors to those who need Jesus, perhaps we should ask Him how we can bring true freedom, found through relationship with Him, to those who are entering our country - legally, illegally, or through refugee relocation. We should offer this invitation to find Christ no matter where they are from or how they got here!
I think this discussion cuts to the heart of the question, "Do we really believe that those who die without Christ go to hell, and are eternally separated from God?" If we do, then we should strive to tell others about Him, no matter where they are from!
Do we see them as enemies - or as people who need to hear and see the love of Jesus Christ?!?!?!
James E. Bogoniewski, Jr.