Retaliation or Refuge?

So, Ephesians took me on a trip this morning and confirmed my initial suspicions. With everything that’s happened in the last week, there’s a lot of arguing about whether the US should take in Syrian refugees. It looks as if no one wants to because of the terror threat that looms menacingly. I’ve been torn up until a couple of days ago. I felt like there was a big threat (and there obviously still is) but I also feel for those families who are just trying to find a safe place to live.

I started focusing on what Jesus did during His life and it became clear that the right thing to do is the compassionate one. After all, Jesus is the Ultimate Martyr, dying for all of us, even when only a fraction of us will truly believe. How can we turn away our compassion for people who are loved just as much by God as any of us?

The rest of the world insists on retaliation and denial of any refugees into their territory but Ephesians 4:17-18 says “this I say, therefore,and testify in the Lord,that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.”

Basically, if we call ourselves Christian, we are not to have the same mindset as the rest of the world. Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma.

Refusing to give refuge is not an act of love. Yes, we know the dangers but we want to please God more than we please ourselves. Is that our mentality? It doesn’t look like it. Ephesians 5:15-17 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

The more I read this, the more I see it clearly. We are so focused on the danger the terrorists pose, we forget the the will of God is to love each other unconditionally because we love Him. Fighting these people is not what we should be focused on. As a matter of fact, that’s what the devil wants us to focus on because that’s how he is effectively distracting us from the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Here’s how I know:

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of the age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God.

So, what’s the armor? Righteousness, Gospel of Peace, Faith, Salvation and our main weapon is the Word of God (the sword). This is what we need to keep the devil in his place because even though he’s already lost, he continues to deceive himself that he can win. We must be tenacious in our efforts to remain in the faith and focused clearly on Jesus, and not on the fleshly threats to our bodies. Instead, let’s be the Christians we claim to be and open our arms wide to these people. Let them in, feed them, clothe them, show them the love of Christ. If they turn on us and kill us, what have we lost? Nothing. Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” I think that speaks loudly enough for me. I refuse to fear other people because I know the only one I should fear and revere is my Father in Heaven who holds all power to create and destroy with a word.

My obedience is far more important than my life here on earth. For some reason, I believe most people have lost sight of that. We need to take a step back and breathe for a moment. Pick up your Bible and read it. It is the Word that gives us power and strength to do whatever we need to do for God. Beyond that, it offers the most unique answers to the most difficult questions but we have to live beyond our flesh in order to obey.

So what are your thoughts? Retaliation or offer refuge?



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