When Compassion Meets Concern When Compassion Meets Concern
When Compassion Meets Concern

The refugee crisis

By Jim Phelps

The level of discrimination and violence against Christians around the world is unprecedented and magnifying exponentially. Thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters are extremely vulnerable and in harm’s way in this very moment. Most Americans would agree, but what about our State Department?

A factsheet on the U.S. Department of State’s Refugee Admissions Program asks, “Who are the ‘most vulnerable’ refugees that the United States admits?”

FACTSHEET LINK: https://www.state.gov/j/prm/releases/factsheets/2017/266447.htm

“There is no standard profile. Vulnerability is assessed on a case by case basis, and is generally understood as individuals who are not able to safely and voluntarily return home, are not thriving in their country of first asylum, and are not expected to be able to locally integrate in that country in the future.

Extremely vulnerable individuals may include female-headed households, victims of torture or violence, religious minorities, LGBT refugees, or people who need medical care that they cannot receive in their country of origin or the country of first asylum.”

Clearly, Christians in some war torn areas of the Middle East “are not able to safely and voluntarily return home,” and are “victims of torture or violence” or considered a “religious minority.” Unfortunately, it appears the State Department doesn’t agree.

Like me, doesn’t this make you question the process? With a title of Executive Director, an influential gentlemen in the field of Migration and Refugee Services once told me, “Christians and Muslims share the same values, so you are wrong for favoring one to enter the country over the other.” The vast difference in opinion occurred when I questioned why there were over 99% Muslims and less than a half percent of Christians entering the country among the total number of refugees.

Need I say we are not the same? Since our faith is based on the Bible and not the Qur’an, we are infidels. Since we do not believe the central tenets of Islam, we are infidels. Since we have not submitted to Allah, we are infidels.

The infidels are your sworn enemies (Sura 4:101).

Infidels are those who declare: “God is the Christ, the son of Mary” (Sura 5:17).

Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends (Sura 5:51).

Infidels are those that say “God is one of three in a Trinity” (Sura 5:73).

Make war on the infidels who dwell around you (Sura 9:123).

When you meet the infidel in the battlefield strike off their heads (Sura 47:4).

To my Executive Director friend, I needed clarification. “What do you mean by saying Christians and Muslims share the same values? It’s quite obvious their values are vastly different!”

He justified his reasoning with Matthew 25:37-39: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

So, I asked him, “How did you come to the conclusion that this passage prevents me from favoring Christians over Muslims? Who was Jesus speaking about in the context of these verses?”

He refused to answer me. I kept pressing for him to answer me, and he continued to ignore the question, saying, “I’m not trying to get into a theological debate.”

And I replied, “You’re the one that brought up the verses in Matthew 25.”

In all honestly, I would prefer not to enter a theological debate, as well, but this is important.

Continuing to lead the conversation with another question, I asked, “Have you ever considered the verse that follows the text you shared? Verse 40? “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

This was where I was trying to steer the conversation. “Who was Jesus speaking about? The least of these brothers of mine?”

Consider Matthew 12:50 where Jesus said: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

And with that statement, he was disarmed. Those who are practicing Islam are NOT doing the will of my Father in heaven!

In no way am I saying (or is Jesus saying) we should not be compassionate to others in need, but what I am saying is that I care very deeply for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are being left behind or left for dead. Parts of the body of Christ are being hacked off on a near daily basis and it appears to me that many others parts of the body are not feeling the pain without much concern.

Jim and his wife, Cori, are passionate followers of Christ. Jim is particularly interested in mobilizing men and strengthening small groups. 

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