Today is World Refugee Day – here’s why we should care

Post a Comment » Written on June 20th, 2012     
Filed under: Community Development, General
As Christians, we are continually bombarded with issues, both domestic and international, that call for our attention. With Biblical mandates to love our neighbors as ourselves and care for the poor, orphans, widows, and aliens, we have a big task ahead of us, and it can be overwhelming without a clear place to start. Today is World Refugee Day, making caring for refugees a very good place to start.

Unfortunately, refugees, who have been forced to leave their countries because of war, persecution, or natural disasters, do not often make the news, so they are left to fend for themselves. We cannot let this continue.

As Covenanters, we are always asking the question “Where is it written?”. What does the Bible have to say about loving and caring for refugees? The answer to that question is that the Bible has a lot to say about this topic. Throughout much of the Old Testament, and even into the New Testament, we see many of our favorite Bible characters facing displacement, living as refugees.

    • Adam and Eve were forced out of the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24)
    • Noah and his family found refuge from the flood on the ark (Genesis 7—8)
    • Abraham and his family, due to famine, had to leave their home, and were refugees in Egypt (Genesis 12)
    • Lot and his family fled destruction in Sodom (Genesis 19)
    • Jacob and his sons left their home, again due to famine, and were refugees in Egypt (Genesis 46:1-7)
    • The Israelites were quickly forced out of Egypt (Exodus 12:37-39)
    • When given the Law at Mount Sinai, Moses received many commandments from God to protect and care for resident aliens (Exodus 12:21, 12:49, 23:9; Leviticus 19:9-10, 19:33-34, 23:22, 24:22; Deuteronomy 14:28-29, to name just a few).
    • Even Jesus and his parents were temporary refugees. Matthew 2:13-15 tells the story of the young family fleeing to Egypt in order to avoid Herod, who tried to have all young male children killed.

Clearly, caring for refugees should be high on our list of priorities. As Christians, it is our job to bring about the Kingdom of God here on earth, and our priorities and desires should match God’s. Psalm 146:9 tells us that “the Lord watches over the sojourners”. We should too.

Like most Kingdom work, this is no small task. You may be asking yourself what you can do and where you should start. Covenant World Relief funds many projects that support and care for refugees. For example, CWR is working with a refugee community in Ecuador, South Sudanese children fleeing to Ethiopia, families fleeing religious persecution in Orissa, Indiainternally displaced people (IDPs) in Burma and Congolese refugees in Kenya. Please click the links to find more information, and consider praying for and giving to a project.

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself – Leviticus 19:34

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