*Note added 11/20/15: Please be assured that my intentions were not to make a political statement as to what the U.S. government should do about the refugee crisis. I only want Christians to think about our reaction to the "dangerous" people and places in our society that we often try to avoid.
We are a culture that is obsessed with safety.
Is the house I am buying in a safe neighborhood?
Is my child's school safe?
Are vaccines safe? Pesticides?
Will less guns make us safe? Or more guns?
Prayer meetings are often dominated by requests for safety in traveling. We spend hours researching the safest car seat, baby monitor, and crib. We always buckle. These aren't necessarily bad things.
Until this obsession gets into the way of obeying God.
What happens when God breaks your heart for the low-income neighborhood in your city?
What about when your firstborn child is called to be a missionary in Iraq? Or Afghanistan? Or North Korea?
What about when that unseemly neighbor wants her kids to come over and play?
Or how about something as simple as finding out that 10,000 Syrian refugees are being sent to your city?
It's ironic that two months ago, when a drowned toddler was the Face of the Refugee, there was only criticism for those countries who didn't open their arms wide. Now, when the Face of the Refugee is a terrorist, those same doors are slamming shut.
I don't want to make a political statement here. I realize that the refugee situation is complicated and not easy to solve. However, I do want to make a Christian statement.
When our love of safety gets in the way of obeying God, we are wrong.
When our love of safety gets in the way of loving people, we are wrong.
When we see the dysfunctional neighbor, the unruly child, the refugee, the Muslim, we should see the face of Jesus. When we see the low-income neighborhood, the Arab country, the dilapidated house down the street, we should see places to which Jesus would have run.
Yes, we should be safe when we can be. But as Christians, for the sake of love, we should err on the side of risk.
Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?
To cross the railroad tracks.
To open our homes to the international college student.
To welcome the foster child.
To befriend the woman behind the veil.
To give generously.
To love lavishly.
And be willing to say with Queen Esther,