• Jeffrey Ram

TEN REASONS WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULD WELCOME REFUGEES, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS AND HELP THEM INTEGRATE

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

Written by Jeffrey S. Ram, Toronto, Canada, September 21, 2021

The recent scramble of Afghans at the Kabul airport struggling to get out of the country has focused attention on the plight of refugees and migrants worldwide. Immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers come to our cities and neighborhoods, fleeing wars, persecution, or poverty. They offer the Christians opportunities to welcome them as members of our human family and assist them.

REFUGEES AROUND THE WORLD – SOME FACTS AND FIGURES

According to Amnesty International:

In 2019, there were estimated 26 million refugees globally and half of them were children. The developing nations were taking care of about 85% of refugees. In 2019, just five countries were the source of more than two-thirds of all refugees. These countries were Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar. Since 2014, the bulk of refugees came from Syria. By the end of 2019, 6.6 million Syrians had taken refuge in 126 countries. The resettlement rate of worldwide refugees is very slow.

In the past decade, a little over 1 million refugees were rehabilitated while 3.9 returned to their countries.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/refugees-asylum-seekers-and-migrants/global-refugee-crisis-statistics-and-facts/

MIGRANTS AROUND THE WORLD- SOME FACTS AND FIGURES

According to the World Economic Forum’s World Migration Report 2020:

About 3.5% of the world, estimated 272 million people, were international migrants. Most people moved voluntarily to other countries in search of work. But millions were forced to leave their countries due to wars, violence, persecution, and climate change. The number of international migrants has tripled since 1970.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/iom-global-migration-report-international-migrants-2020/

TEN REASONS WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULD WELCOME REFUGEES, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS AND HELP THEM INTEGRATE

The Holy Bible provides some timeless rules, principles, and teachings to treat the “strangers,” “foreigners,” and “sojourners” with equality, justice, love, and generosity. Christians should act by these moral guidelines.

1. Provide justice to the foreigners. “Give the members of your community a fair hearing, and judge rightly between one person and another, whether citizen or resident alien.” ---- Deuteronomy 1:16. (HOLY BIBLE: NRSV: New Revised Standard Version)

More verses that emphasize this point are Deuteronomy 24:17-18; Deuteronomy 27:19; Zechariah 7:9-10; and Jeremiah 22:3-5.

2. Treat foreigners as equals. “The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.” ---- Exodus 12:49 (HOLY BIBLE: NIV: New International Version). Other verses reinforcing this command are Leviticus 24:22, Numbers 15:16, and Numbers 35:15.

3. Do not oppress a refugee or a foreigner. “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. ---- Exodus 22:21 (HOLY BIBLE: NIV: New International Version). Exodus 23:9, Deuteronomy 24:14, and Zechariah 7:9-10 repeat this command.

4. Leave the food for the poor and the foreigner. “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” ---- Deuteronomy 10:18 (HOLY BIBLE: NIV: New International Version).

“When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.” --- Deuteronomy 26:12 (Holy Bible, New International Version). Also, Deuteronomy 14:28-29, Leviticus 23:22, and Ezekiel 47:22 deal with this command.

5. Love the foreigners in your land. “And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” ---- Deuteronomy 10:19 (Holy Bible, New International Version).

6. Treat foreigners and refugees with love. “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” ---- Leviticus 19:33-34(Holy Bible, New International Version). And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. ---- Deuteronomy 10:19 (Holy Bible, New International Version).

7. Love your neighbour as yourself. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (HOLY BIBLE: NKJV-New King James Version). The parable of the Good Samaritan shows that neighbours are not only the people we know but also the people we do not know.

8. The Great Commission and the World Mission can be carried out at home in our neighborhoods and cities. The demand for immigrant workers in western countries is bringing the world to the western countries as refugees, migrants, and immigrants. Christians should befriend them and help them.

9. Show hospitality to strangers. Apostle Paul advised, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” ---- Hebrews 13:2 (Holy Bible, New International Version). Other verses urging believers to be hospitable to strangers are: “Romans 12:13, 1 Peter 4:9, and 3 John. 1:5-8.

10. Invite the stranger in. The stranger may be Jesus in disguise. Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” ---- Matthew 25:35 (Holy Bible, New International Version). Matthew 25: 31-40 verses provide the details.

Scripture verses taken from the HOLY BIBLE, New International Version: HOLY BIBLE: NRSV: New Revised Standard Version; HOLY BIBLE: NKJV-New King James Version.

SOME SUGGESTIONS HOW THE CHURCHES AND CHRISTIANS CAN WELCOME AND HELP THE REFUGEES, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS

*** They can lobby their government to increase the quota of refugees, migrants, and immigrants and urge it to provide more assistance to them.

*** The churches and the Christians should generously and compassionately assist refugees, migrants, and immigrants in their rehabilitation and integration.

*** Many churches already provide food banks to help the needy. They can also offer Friendship Banks. The old inhabitants, as well as the newcomers, will enjoy the benefits.

*** As knowledgeable native-born brothers, sisters, and friends, Christians can guide and advise the new neighbours how to navigate the system and protect themselves from scams.

CHURCHES AND CHRISTIANS SHOULD EMBRACE AND PRACTICE THE BIBLE’S VALUES

Lord Jesus Christ said, “If you love me, you will obey my command.” (John 14:15). As followers of Jesus Christ, Christians should obey his command, love and help their neighbour refugees, migrants and immigrants.

*****

[Toronto, Canada-based, ReformAdvocate.com encourages the Christian minorities, immigrants, women, elderly, and other weaker groups to empower themselves. Only two blogs per month. The subscription is free. Please visit ReformAdvocate.com and subscribe. THANKS]

(if you have any suggestions to make the blog more effective and practical, please write to editor Jeffrey S. Ram at ram@reformadvocate.com)

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