Do you remember when Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner? In the blink of an eye, the former Olympian who I had not even thought about in two decades became a woman, went on the cover of a magazine and won an award from ESPN for being courageous. And I wasn’t even allowed to say, “Man, what is Bruce doing to himself? That’s weird.”
The tolerance police would have called my reaction hate speech.
And some Christians would have said that I wasn’t acting like Jesus for still calling him Bruce.
Both would have joined together to remind me of the importance of compassion.
Well, that same chorus is singing but this song is about the Syrian refugees who our country’s leadership is working hard to bring to the United States. Some Christians have stated that it is our duty as followers of Christ to show compassion to all (insert anywhere between 10,000 to 250,000) of these refugees. Nonbelievers have said the same thing. When nonbelievers start enlisting Jesus to help them prove a political point, look out. It’s about to get interesting.
If you have second thoughts about letting these refugees in, some would say, you value comfort over compassion and your faith simply isn’t radical enough. However, most of those same folks probably go to sleep at night behind the comfort of a door that they locked to keep out unwanted guests who probably just wanted to come in and eat in peace. The nerve!
Perhaps it would help us to take a look at what it means to be compassionate.
One time I was with my wife and small child when we saw a lady who needed a ride. I’m sure that you’ll forgive me for profiling but this lady appeared to be on drugs. I offered her a ride and she accepted. So there we were. Me, my wife, my infant son and some lady who we were all hoping wasn’t carrying a shiv. Finally, our short but anxious trip was over when we dropped her of at a location which, for the record, was not a church building.
It was a quiet ride home after that.
Later, my wife shared some wisdom with me in a very kind way. That’s one of the things that I love about her. She expressed to me that my compassion toward that woman could have very easily turned into a lack of compassion toward my wife and son. Quite simply, I put those under my immediate care in unnecessary danger.
So I read the story of the Good Samaritan to my wife and yelled at her for not being radical enough.
Not really. She was right. There were other options. For one, I could have called a cab for the lady and paid for it myself.
When it comes to allowing thousands of Syrian refugees into our country, there are other options besides, “Bring them on in. WWJD?!”
First, if we really want to talk about compassion, perhaps we should take a minute to think about what created all of this in the first place. It was the United States, along with help from other equally misguided western nations, that helped to create this monster we now call ISIS. That’s not just an Obama problem. It’s not just a Bush problem. It’s a horrific American foreign policy problem that has been going on for decades. When we needlessly topple foreign leaders and create even worse terror groups to take their place, it may be too late and our nation may be too complicit for any call for compassion to be taken seriously.
We must also consider the very real possibility that there is more than meets the eye with some refugees. According to the United Nations, an overwhelming majority of these refugees from the Mediterranean region, not just Syria, are men. According to Time, they are fighting age men. Now that could be because they don’t want to fight in Syria and they are leading the way to scope out a new home, church and little league soccer team to enjoy with their wives and kids. Or it could be what we might refer to as a soft invasion. Either way, shouldn’t we at least take the time to think about this?
Is it really unChristlike to question the narrative when it has already been documented that at least one refugee agency does not track refugees once they enter the country and that one of those refugees has already gone missing?
Despite what some may say, being cautious about allowing thousands of young men into our country who may or may not be here to attack us is not unChristlike. You could even make the case that it is very Christlike.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Jesus said that in Matthew 10:16. But it doesn’t sound very radical, does it? That’s because most of us have grown to believe that compassion and common sense cannot work together when in reality they are two sides of the same coin. If you don’t believe me, try writing your name, social and checking account number on the bathroom wall of some place where someone in need might be able to find it. Get back to me and let me know how the rest of your family feels about your so-called compassion.
Yes, we must be compassionate and we must remember that we are a nation of immigrants. But we also must be wise. And there’s nothing wise or compassionate about trusting the same government that cannot adequately handle public schools to somehow take care of thousands of refugees from the current headquarters of global terrorism.
Christians, show compassion. Even when it’s hard. Obey what Jesus said, even when it involves the illegal immigrant who lives two doors down from you. But do all of that because you love Jesus, not because those who created the problem in the first place are condemning you for not jumping on board with their proposed solution.