I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there’s been a lot of hostility towards refugees in the minority (so called “Western”) world lately. In Europe, country after country are closing their borders and argue that they don’t have capacity and resources to welcome refugees, even though the EU is the world’s richest political entity and development countries receive 86 % of the world’s refugees. In Australia the government is pushing back boats of refugees and put refugees in horrible detention camps, and in the United States there’s a guy called Trump who wants to ban Muslims from entering the country and build a wall against Mexico.
The two latter examples are extremely confusing since the white population there are obviously descendants of immigrants themselves… I read in Bob Ekblad’s book A New Christian Manifesto recently about some Scandinavian Americans who were protesting against native Americans’ claims of land, and the Scandinavians’ argument were that they had owned that land for such a long time.
The Bible says: “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” (Lev 19:34). The Israelites had then been in Egypt for 400 years. Most American and Australian families have lived in their colonies for less than that, which means that they surely are immigrants from God’s perspective, and this Bible passage is naturally very relevant to them. They have no moral grounds for deporting immigrants when they are rich and themselves have benefited from migration.
Many in America, Australia and Europe claim to be Christian, some even are Christian. Most will celebrate Christmas this season. We will then sing songs and read about how God became a refugee. No guest room was available for them so they had to place the divine baby in a manger, and when the corrupt king tried to kill Him they had to flee to Egypt.
When Jesus grew up He preached about the foolishness and sinfulness of hypocrisy, when one is inconsistent and says one thing but do another. The Pharisees were masters of this ungodly skill, and Jesus repeatedly warned His disciples of doing the make mistake. We should be holy, love everyone as ourselves – even our enemies – and always do to others as we would have them do to us.
If we were fleeing, be it from war, persecution, poverty or something else, would we want to be met with shut doors, a wall, hateful speech against our group, detention camps, barbed wire, or xenophobia? Of course not. This is why the current development in the minority world is so outrageous and sinful. As long as a country is rich and secure, it has no reason to ban the poor and broken from seeking refuge in it.
This is what we must remember this Christmas. Christ became a refugee partly to identify with all those who flee, but also because He is constantly trampled upon as God. After all, He did end up crucified for a crime He did not commit. But God is loving and forgiving, and He died for us so that we may be free and live eternally. On the last day, it is we who will need to seek refuge in His Kingdom, and thankfully He isn’t Donald Trump.