I once stood in Iraq with a man who looks me straight in the eye
And says: I am not human —
Just like all the others who breathe their first breath
on corners of this planet that heave
with the heat of dragons who whip their heads to
with scorching terror.
And that non-human whose name is Joseph,
he turns with his burns,
leans in so I can see the screaming whites of his eyes,
so I can feel the begging warm breath of his heart when he whispers
that even the dogs can flee hatred’s fire,
that I can wing my way back to my island of safe —
but he’s left to breathe as a non-human and there is no one —
no united nations, no united peoples, no united front —
No one who cares how he exists, where he exists, or if he exists,
or if he ever gets to breathe dreams
right into the face of dragons.
I once held a woman from the Congo who bore witness to the
blade of a machete splaying open the veins of her one mother’s neck,
and she turned and ran, for weeks she ran barefoot across whole countries,
and her tears ran down over the torture that scars her cheeks, ran salty down
my arm, her words running right into me, running homeless
into the world’s barbed wire fences and then fluttered there like a dead bird snared:
“Why was my life supposed to be like this?”
I knelt once with a woman who was raped thousands of times in Syria,
body and soul bought, owned, and traded for years, by men masked in black,
And she howled to the heavens when they slammed her baby boy’s head
up against the cement walls like a rat to be smashed.
And I reached out to tenderly touch her son’s now twisted ear
And wondered if the world heard
over the roar of dragons
and the thundering of running feet,
And the pounding of terrified wings
The cries that just plead:
Dignity and Humanity are not a function of geography or nationality.
And your worth is not based on where you breathe in this world.
And when you did not choose for your roof to be the open, devouring mouth of ravenous violence,
where in the world can you, and your wide-eyed children, find anyone who will just
“Defend the defenseless, the fatherless and the forgotten, the disenfranchised and the destitute.
Your duty is to deliver the poor and the powerless;
liberate them from the grasp of the wicked.”
A whole world of hurting people will decide what they think about Jesus — by how we decide to respond to the hurting.
Now, is the time for the Church to be the Church and embody Gospel — GOOD NEWS — for the 24 people every single minute who are fleeing violence, seeking refuge.
In the past, the Church may have been defined by what the Church is against — but, in this defining moment in history, the Church gets to be clearly defined by what it compassionately is for — and the Church has always compassionately been about the welcome of the stranger, the sojourner, and the welcoming arms of the Savior.
Did you know there are 22 million refugees worldwide? Even more heartbreaking, half are under the age of 18. Those numbers are huge and it can be easy to tune out. But 20,000 of those refugees will likely be resettled in America this year. We can make a difference for those 20,000.
World Relief is one of only nine agencies in the U.S providing these types of services. And the government grants we receive to support these programs have decreased by 35% in the last two years. But we believe Christians can meet this need.
Most of these refugees entering the U.S. this year will be families with small children in search of safety and security. They will be mothers and fathers looking to start a new life. They will be entrepreneurs and teachers looking to contribute. These brave souls will be our new neighbors. They will need help learning a new language, finding jobs and building community.
I’m reaching out to you today and asking: Join me as together we seek to be like Jesus:
Our family, in the last 2 years, has made a home for 11 refugees.
There can be more compassion in our hearts than fear in the world, and NOW is our time to care for Christ.
“Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and not help You?” – Matt. 25:44