So, I’ve been really weighed down about the Syrian refugee crisis. Every time I get on Facebook, it’s all photos of crying women and scared kids, and I just feel really, really bad, you know? Like I should do something.
But then I got thinking about it, and I realized we’ve got this all wrong.
It’s tragic, of course, but let’s be honest. For all the refugees out there (I can’t remember the exact number), there are just as many reasons (well, at least five) that we should stop worrying them.
1. We’re caught up in emotionalism.
Please. We’re only worked up about this tragedy because it’s trending on social media. Have we even spared a thought for what’s going on in Africa? India? Eastern Europe? It’s hypocritical to jump on the bandwagon for one injustice while ignoring the others. Better to be consistent, and do nothing.
2. We can only care about so much.
The human heart is a fragile thing. If we were to take on the emotional burden of suffering around the world, it would crush us. Compassion fatigue is a real thing. Better to spend our emotional resources on our own families and friends, and leave the refugees to Europe.
3. We’re too far away.
Speaking of Europe, let’s get real about geography. A little thing called the Atlantic is sending us an obvious message: there’s nothing practical we can do to help. Ship supplies to refugee camps? Hello, postage. Better to stick with praying. It’s the best thing we can do anyway.
4. The humanitarian system is wasteful/inefficient/corrupt.
How about donating money, you ask? Sure. How many of our dollars actually end up doing what we intended? Half of them probably get thrown away on office furniture, Keurigs, and matching T-shirts for volunteers. Maybe we’re not entirely “in the know” about the financial needs way over there across the Atlantic, but we’re not naive, either. Better to save our pennies for Christmas (only 109 shopping days left!) and carve out more time to pray for the refugees. Prayer is way more powerful than cash.
5. God’s got this. He doesn’t need our help.
Yeah, prayer is definitely the way to go. God’s not surprised by any of this. He’s in control. Not a sparrow falls without…you know, something like that. There’s nothing I can do about any of this mess that He can’t do better, so why interfere? Better to cast my cares for the refugees on Him, and leave them there.
[Sigh] It feels so good to get that off my chest. This calls for a Starbucks run. Anyone up for pumpkin spice?
It is my sincere hope that you picked up on my sarcasm in this post, and that you understand I’m mocking myself more than anyone else. It’s far too easy to talk ourselves out of compassionate action, especially when so many of our excuses are lies mixed with aspects of truth. Together let’s refuse to allow an imperfect system and the obstacles of inconvenience to stand in the way of obedience. Let’s stop talking, and act! If you need ideas about where to start, read these posts by Ann Voskamp:
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”