By Rick Sample
Should we be afraid of refugees—people arriving on U.S. soil from Syria or Iraq or Iran or Yemen or Somalia or Libya or Sudan or some other Muslim country—just because they are Muslim?
I have met many refugees from Middle Eastern countries, most of whom are Muslim. They all have one thing in common: they are delighted to be here in America, having fled from their home country in fear.
How about a widow with seven children whose husband was killed by the Taliban?
Someone came to her house to report his murder and at the same time told her that she had better run—they were on the way to kill her and the children. She ran to a refugee camp and later this big family ended up in America as refugees. Should I have been afraid of her and her seven children? No—she herself was fleeing in fear. I could offer this family a word of peace and a welcome in America.
How about a single mother from Iran who secretly became a Christian and whose husband told her he was planning to kill her because she was a new Christian?
She sneaked away in the middle of the night with her three children to a refugee camp and later this little family ended up in America as refugees. Should I have been afraid of this Iranian refugee woman? No, she herself was fleeing Iran in fear. Desperately yearning for a word of peace, she found herself welcome in America.
They managed to escape to a refugee camp and later this sweet family ended up in America as refugees. Should I have been afraid of these little kids? No—as refugees they found refuge here in America. With a word of peace, I was proud to say “welcome to America.”
How about a 13-year-old boy who came home one day to discover his father, his pregnant mother and his two little brothers murdered with their bloodied bodies covered in white sheets on the front lawn?
Had this boy been home one hour earlier, he too would have been murdered. This boy traveled across the Middle East through Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. He ended up in America, and somewhere along his difficult journey as a refugee, he found Christ and embraced Jesus with a beautiful faith. Should I have been afraid of this refugee from a Muslim country, now a young adult? No—he fled in fear, but found peace in the Prince of Peace.
As American Christians, we can find it within ourselves to impart peace to the hearts of refugees; often they fleeing harsh places in fear for their lives and the lives of their children—hoping for a place of refuge. We should not respond in fear of them but rather respond with a word of peace, sharing with them the hope that we have.
Rick Sample is a CBF field personnel serving the international and refugee community in the San Francisco Bay Area alongside his wife Lita. Support the work of the Samples at www.cbf.net/sample-give.