Let’s be honest. It’s easy to get compassion fatigue when you talk about the refugee situation in the Middle East. After so many years, it feels like this crisis will never end. So, it’s not surprising when people ask, “Why should I even care anymore?”
It’s a valid question. But the Bible has a few instructions to Christians about helping people in need.
Why should we care?
Most of the refugees in Syria and Iraq are women, children, and the elderly. Many are widows and orphans, but all have been forced into a life of poverty they never asked for. Their living situation is terrible. The refugee crisis is just that — a crisis. But why should you take the time to respond and help in this particular disaster?
The answer is because of those people I just described — the widows, and orphans, and poverty stricken. They are the exact people that God’s Word clearly commands us to help:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
— Proverbs 31:8-9, NIV
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
— Isaiah 1:17, NIV
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
— 1 John 3:17, NIV
Those verses are pretty clear. God has asked us to set people free and to meet their physical needs. He doesn’t put an expiration date on that command, He just says to keep loving others in His name. But that is not the only reason Christians should be quick to care about refugees. We should continue to care because we serve a God who has never once stopped caring about us.
Since the beginning of time, we have given Him every reason to ignore us, to forget about us, to turn His back on our sufferings. And year after year, we continue to struggle. We continue to desperately need Him, whether we realize it or not.
But He has never grown tired of caring for us. He has never grown tired of meeting our needs. He loves us … and He loves the men and women struggling to survive in refugee camps across Syria and Iraq. All He asks is that we follow His example and love those who desperately need it.
Does your help even make a difference?
The situation in Syria and Iraq continues to deteriorate. The violence citizens have been facing is not over yet. Amnesty International calls what is happening on the Turkish border a “shameful disregard for civilian life.” And its Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said that people “live in constant fear of indiscriminate bombardment, abductions, and summery killings.”
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, wondering: “What can I actually do to help in a situation like this?”
With a few exceptions, most of Jesus’ ministry focused on the one person who was in need, right in front of Him. Yes, He fed the 5,000 all at once, but most of the time He dealt with people one on one. He healed a blind man. He raised a girl from the dead. He comforted and validated a woman who was an outcast. He gave Peter the grace he needed to forgive his own betrayal.
At World Help, we often share this quote from Mother Teresa: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
It is a good reminder that while our gifts may not be enough to rescue everyone, we can rescue at least one. That little refugee girl who receives food? Your gift matters to her. That elderly grandmother who received medical treatment? Your gift matters to her.
And the wonderful thing is that you are not giving alone. Together, we are working to meet the physical needs of refugees around the globe. Your gifts will save lives, but they are also doing so much more.
We have heard story after story of Muslims who have chosen to follow Jesus because someone provided food or medical aid for them. By giving, you demonstrate the love of Jesus to people who are desperate for love … desperate for hope.
So how can you help?
Another Mother Teresa quote that I love says this: “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.”
It’s not easy to continue to love and care for refugees. But every dollar you give does matter. As bombs fall and sickness spreads and refugee camps run out of food, you gift will be a beacon of hope for one refugee.
Here’s how it works:
Your $35 gift multiplies over 5X thanks to grants and corporate donations, so it will distribute $189 worth of lifesaving aid to a refugee. You will provide access to food, medical care, clothes, heaters, warm blankets, and other life-changing essentials.
Please continue to love and rescue these refugees, pray for them, and demonstrate God’s love by meeting their physical needs today.