It’s not wrong for churches in western nations to want to help Christians first when it comes to helping the refugees of Iraq and Syria. In fact, it is the duty of the Church to serve their brothers and sisters around the world. So often we forget, in spite of the ability to be connected by technology, the simple truth:
We forget that we are one heart and one body. Instead western churches are concerned with how others will see them. But we need not fear the criticism of others. Christ himself was criticized by those who held power in his day. If Christ can face such criticism, surely the western church can withstand those would criticize us for helping other of Christs’ body who need it.
The Christian refugees of Iraq and Syria feel forgotten and ignored. The mainstream media does not cover their stories, and western governments will not give them priority status on visa applications, despite that they are the most vulnerable and that the surrounding nations are not known for being friendly to Christians. Yet our governments continue to ignore what is happening, acting as if there is no method to ISIS’ madness, as if they are not targeting Christians and other religious minorities specifically.
Will the church ignore the facts as well? Or will we stand up as members of the body and do something to stop the murders and enslavement of those with whom we are connected with by Christ himself.
It is true, we can’t save the world, but surely we can help our brothers and sisters in Christ. Surely we can take some time out of our lives to write our leaders and petition on the behalf of our suffering siblings of the body. If every Christian in Canada wrote to the prime minister, how loud our voice could be. If every Christian in the west wrote to their leaders, the sound of our voice would be overwhelming. If we of the western church would stand in solidarity with the church in the east, we would be too loud to ignore.
We must use the voice God has given us. If we don’t history will repeat itself and we will regret not stepping in to stop it.
Many may say that ISIS on the run, that there is no need for our intervention, but they are not yet defeated. Even if they are, there are many Christians who will not be able to return or will be too afraid to. ISIS’ ideology has already taken root, the damage has been done. The divisions have been created between the peoples in Iraq and Syria, and I fear the Christians may find that there is no longer a place for them.
It is our duty to help those who want to leave to do so, and to help support those who want to stay in any way we can. For the time being I believe that there is need to offer them a safe haven within the western nations. We need to put pressure on our leaders to extend this invitation. We need to give what we can in terms of financial assistance and we need to remember to pray for them.
I pray that this message will be shared around the world. I pray that the church in western nations would respond with passion and show the Christians of Iraq and Syria that we care, by standing with them by doing everything possible to help them in their time of need.