65 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes. 22 million are refugees who have fled from their home countries. Half of the 22 million are children.
June 20 marks World Refugee Day and June 25 is World Refugee Sunday, giving us a week to focus and reflect on the current refugee crisis and pray over how we as Christians are called to intervene.
What is a refugee?
According to the UN, “A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence.”
Why should we care?
God’s word has much to say about compassion for foreigners, neighbors, and strangers.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21 informs us God is reconciling the world to himself, and that he has committed to us his ministry of reconciliation.
In Deuteronomy 10:18-19, God declares his love and care for the foreigners among us, instructing us to love them, too.
In 1 Kings 8:41-44 we learn that we have the opportunity to make his name great among all peoples.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:35-46 make clear that when we show compassion for others, we are doing a service for the Lord.
In Luke 6:27-36, Jesus instructs us to love generously, giving more than is asked of us, even to those we see as our enemies.
When asked “Who is my neighbor?” in Luke 10:25-37, Jesus shares that social outcasts – even our political and cultural enemies – are our neighbors.
Galatians 3:28 tells us that the gospel is for all people, and we are all the same in Christ.
What can we do?
Be informed: We can fight to stay aware of the ongoing refugee crisis, both by keeping track of the numbers and by listening to the stories of refugees. On July 15, Christ Church will visit Nashville for a special day of exploration and discovery, meeting refugees and learning about their journey of resettlement.
Pray: When we feel helpless, God is still almighty. As we pray for the nations and for God’s kingdom to come, we can pray for safety, reconciliation, and new life for refugees and displaced peoples.
Act: We have many options for taking action on behalf of refugees and displaced peoples. We can give financially to trustworthy relief organizations. We can provide friendship and help to refugees in the resettlement process in the United States, in cities like Nashville and Clarkston. We can even go to the front lines of the refugee crisis, giving of our time and effort in strategic ways to those who are still fleeing from war.
The UN’s Refugee Agency, UNHCR, keeps up-to-date statistics on refugees and displaced peoples. Click here to read an overview of current statistics.
For giving, consider World Relief, the largest Christ-centered refugee relief organization. https://www.worldrelief.org/refugee-crisis/
For helping with resettlement, join us monthly in Nashville as we partner with City Church Network. We meet refugees, form friendships, and help them navigate their new lives in the United States.
If you’re interested in exploring front-lines opportunities, please talk to our Minister of Missions, Susan Miller.
Read more about how to have a Biblical response to the refugee crisis in this article from David Platt, head of the IMB and author of Radical.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Matthew 25:35-46 as Matthew 25:25-36. We apologize for the error.