As hundreds and thousands of immigrants arrive in Europe daily seeking refuge from the horrors of their homelands, countries are being forced to deal with the reality of a new European Union. Desperate people from the Middle East and North Africa are traveling at any cost across water and land-borders to find safety and humanity for themselves and their families, causing the largest exodus since World War II. The vulnerable and hurting flood train stations, court yards, and fields all over Europe, and Christ followers now find more of the poor and needy in their own cities. As the Body of Christ, the manifestation of Heaven’s Light in the dark and bloodied places, we should be feeding the Lord’s sheep, offering rest, and lifting burdens.
Instead, fear has taken hold of many. Defensive reactions, not open-handed welcome from the receiving countries, have been the frontline story told again and again as events unfold. Anxiety is driving; people fear broken economies, lost culture, those who are “other”. But the need we feel to protect ourselves is something the Bible actually tells us to surrender up.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on… if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25-33
Worry is unbiblical. Fear is unbiblical. We are commanded not to do it. Yahweh, the eternal and powerful, is a stronghold for those who love Him (Nahum 1:7). Believers are not commanded to fear man or ignore those at our door step. Inversely, we are commanded directly and with earnest to love our neighbors.
“And who is my neighbor?”
Parables are good for teaching, but what would happen if we found ourselves living in one? The Church in Europe is being asked to pick up the bleeding man on the side of the road, the people groups they have unfavorable relations with, but are commanded to love anyway. Christ followers have an opportunity to corporately act-out the Gospel and proclaim Jesus to a displaced people, many of who have no knowledge of His grace.
When Jesus asks the expert in the Law who was a neighbor to the broken man who had been attacked, he replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” And Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)
Pray with us for Jesus-like responses from Believers in Europe and for countries that are struggling with decisions on how to best deal with the overwhelming number of immigrants and refugees now residing inside their borders. You can read about some of this news HERE.