Jesus Would Help the Syrian Refugees

file0001349539280Back in September I began feeling alarmed at the refugees coming out of Syria. Like many people, I felt distress over the young boy that was found washed up on the shores of Greece and the other photos of the refugees appearing on the news and on the internet. I thought about my personal difficulties and those of my family. My husband has been unemployed or underemployed for nearly three years now.

I thought about some of the difficult things. The times when my husband only ate one meal a day because we hadn’t received the promised pay from contract work. I thought about how my picky eater kids suddenly would eat whatever was put in front of them because they were very hungry. I thought about how the kids wore shoes that were too small or worn out or the wrong type. And I knew that compared to these refugees, we have not suffered at all.

I thought of some of the people who have helped us. I thought about the brand new washing machine that showed up at our door just as ours was breaking or about the Santa Claus that showed up on our doorstep on Christmas Eve after I told my little children that Santa did not come to kids whose dad does not have a job. And I knew that these refugees needed angels and they needed them now!

A few days later, I listened to some conservative news radio and heard people saying how we cannot bring the refugees here because there are terrorists trying to get into our country through the refugee program. I heard that again and again over a couple of months. And I felt confused. Shouldn’t we help the destitute no matter who they are?

Later I read that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered $5 million to help with the refugees. That made me proud to be a part of that Church. And then Paris was attacked and the refugee crises began to be discussed and argued at length. Again I felt confused. Help them. Protect us. Help them. Protect us.

A friend online began a discussion. I started to write my not so sure and confused opinion, when I knew. I knew through the Holy Ghost. Immediately these scriptures came to my mind:

the-good-samaritan-del-parson-56099-gallery30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:29-37)

No matter the consequences, and there very well may be some, the refugees must be helped. They have been chased from their homes. They have been forced to leave all. Without help they will starve and die. These include father, mother, and children. They include the single and married. They have been robbed and raped and threatened. Sure, there will probably be evil men who use this to hurt more people, but that should not be our primary concern. The Savior gave us His answer of what we must do. We must go and serve with compassion.

rp_first-presidency-lds-477209-gallery-239x300.jpgThe First Presidency issued a statement on Oct 27th urging the Church members to lend assistance to the people fleeing war-torn countries. The letter states: “It is with great concern and compassion that we observe the plight of the millions of people around the world who have fled their homes seeking relief from civil conflict and other hardships.” That is our counsel. We can donate money through the Church humanitarian fund. We can find ways to volunteer and when the government makes it possible, we can open our homes and hearts to assist them here in our own nation.

No one wants the evil terrorists to win. Yet if we are too afraid to help the people they have tortured, raped, and forced from their homes, in a measure, we have given them a victory.

Before she died, our good friend and Mormon Women Stand editor, Terrie Bitner wrote these words about immigration:

“For Mormons, coming from a premortal life in which we are all God’s children, and then descending from Adam and Eve, we are all family. We are expected to take care of each other, leaving our prejudices and politics behind when there is a humanitarian need. This was the message of the Savior’s parable in the Good Samaritan, where the one who served was serving an ‘enemy,’ according to the culture of his society, and was hated by the listeners for being a Samaritan–and the Samaritan was serving one who was supposed to be his enemy.

‘The Savior revealed the perfect priorities for our lives, our homes, our wards, our communities, and our nations when He spoke of love as the great commandment upon which “hang all the law and the prophets.” We can spend our days obsessing about the finest details of life, the law, and long lists of things to do; but should we neglect the great commandments, we are missing the point and we are clouds without water, drifting in the winds, and trees without fruit.’ (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, You Are My Hands, April 2010 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).”

We will surely continue to hear the debate about whether or not to allow the refugees into our nation, as we do, let us remember the words from this hymn:

“Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.” (lds Hymns, A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, #29, verse 7)

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Diane Robertson

Diane Robertson

Diane Robertson is just a plain old ordinary person with nothing terribly special about her. She's a homeschooling mother blessed with 11 kids, Diane spends most days in yoga pants taking care of her children, teaching, cooking, and cleaning while never actually doing yoga. Motherhood has helped Diane develop a passion for protecting the family and children. She blogs about political family issues at unitedfamiliesinternational.wordpress.com and journals about her family at thoserobertsons.blogspot.com
Diane Robertson

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About Diane Robertson

Diane Robertson is just a plain old ordinary person with nothing terribly special about her. She's a homeschooling mother blessed with 11 kids, Diane spends most days in yoga pants taking care of her children, teaching, cooking, and cleaning while never actually doing yoga. Motherhood has helped Diane develop a passion for protecting the family and children. She blogs about political family issues at unitedfamiliesinternational.wordpress.com and journals about her family at thoserobertsons.blogspot.com

14 thoughts on “Jesus Would Help the Syrian Refugees

  1. Rhonda

    I am not opposed to helping the refugees but I think we need to be careful that some are not “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. I would prefer to help them through the church system so that they are taken care of in Europe. Christ would help them but he would also make sure that all of his sheep are safe. We have far too many people in our own country that need help. I ask those that are so ready to bring refugees into their own home, “how many veterans have you had live in your home?” “How many abused wives and children have lived in your home?” Are these not your first priority? They need our help. They are in danger. They need to be protected. When we take care of our own, then we will be filled and ready to take care of others.

    1. Diane Robertson Post author

      Did you read the post? We are currently homeless and I still feel like the refugees are much more desperate and have suffered more.

      1. Alma Hansen

        You do understand that according to Muslims that Jesus was second to Muhammad and according to their religion he followed and done what he was told to do by Muhammad.

        1. Sue

          Alma, you do understand that this message appeared in the March 2002 Ensign:
          “It has been my experience that if we want to interact with Muslims as mutually respectful neighbors, we must understand and appreciate their beliefs, their philosophy, and their culture. We must come to know and love them if we hope and expect them to do the same for us.”

          In 2005 the Latter-day Saint humanitarian response to tsunami victims in Indonesia included rebuilding mosques and donating copies of the Koran to the Muslim people. Latter-day Saints and Muslims have worked together to provide aid to other nations in distress. Muslim groups have participated in Church-sponsored interfaith programs in the tabernacle.

          The Church has shown nothing but respect and friendship for Muslims. We should do the same.

  2. Daphne Solomon

    The Nazarene fund will allow you to help true refugees. Christians marked for death by ISIS. We have raised money, vetted the refugees and the first 150 will be rescued before Christmas. As long as there is a way to help refugees who are not wolves in sheep’s clothing, I will chose that course.

  3. Laree

    I agree with your basic statement “we should help the refugees “. But it also depends on what your definition of help is.

    I think you pointing to the parable of the good Samaritan is exactly right. However, even the Good Samaritan did not take the man into his home. He cared for him, made sure he was somewhere safe, and gave money to see he saw further care. Historically the Jews and Samaritans were enemies, and maybe this man had young children that he worried about at home. Maybe his home was too far, or he didn’t have time to take him. But whatever the reason, everyone agrees he helped the injured man, and he didnt take him home.

    In the same way, we can help the refugees without endangering our families. I love donating through the church’s humanitarian aid. Providing shelters and camps and clothing and food are wonderful. Stopping the war so they can go home is one of the best ways to end the problem! I just think “help” means different things to different people. If I knew for sure that a refugee family was not going to attack or hurt mine, I would bring them straight into my home and help them become American citizens. But if there is a high probability that those same people are going to try and blow up my family, I want to help them from across an ocean.

    1. Diane Robertson Post author

      I really did just mean help in anyway you can. We certainly could not take in anyone for several reasons, but I feel good about donating through the Church because I know the Church will assure the money is used to help save their lives. Other people have the means and would like to bring them into their homes and I think that is very nice too.

  4. Heman Smith

    Diane, wonderfully expressed, and I have supported its sgharing across Facebook. Indeed, we must help those who are truly suffering and are impacted by evil intentions of groups whose desires are aligned with Satan. Blessing them through the LDS humitarian organization and efforts is wise and needed. That help will go mostly overseas to help on-site.

    At the same time, we must balance our compassion and the Lord’s direction to care for those in need, with the revelatory guidance he has given Capt. Moroni and others to protect our familes from evil. If the “refugees” are not all they claim to be, we could be allowing what is intentional evil into our midst, neighborhoods and country. Moroni spent time strengthening and preparing his people so the evil intention of the “Lamanites” would not impact them. They kept out and under control those whose life choices and philosophy were not supportive of the government the Lord had given them. We may need to make similar tough choices – under the direction of inspired prophets, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

  5. Rob Wood

    Thanks Diane for sharing your perspective, and your context. While paradoxical at first, the logic becomes clear: those who have the least are often the most generous — because they easily empathize. As someone who witnessed the 1993 WTC bombing and 9/11 from across the street (both times I was working in the World Financial Center) I take national security seriously. But I’m also learning to take our promise as Christians to support those in need just as seriously. The real challenge for the Syrian Refugees is having a place in a stable community where they can restart their lives and raise their families. Money alone does not solve that problem. Yes, we should have reasonable vetting and screening, but I feel we could easily allow our fears to turn what started as a reasonable security process into a gauntlet that is really intended as a barrier to entry. We are always strongest when we give faith a stronger voice and keep our fears in check.

  6. Emily Robertson

    beautifilly written Diane. I came to the same conclusion pondering on it myself. Lots of scriptures from all the books came to mind and I feel very peaceful and even joyful about the opportunity to help these people. This was before I had any clue this would divide the country mostly along party lines. Haha! Probably the first time I’ve taken a very “liberal” opinion on anything. 🙂 And yes there are many ways to help–each should do what he or she feels inspired to do.

  7. Jennifer Williams

    I am happy to help/accept people of Any Faith . I think Many people feel this way . My problem comes in with the belief some have that the answer to Every situation is to move to America ? I think of those my age who would be faced with the loss of Family, Friends and a Culture that has existed for thousands of years . I can’t even imagine how that would feel ? The younger ( teen ) generation are often left adrift without the Society they knew to guide and love them . Unfortunately gangs can take the place of lost Neighbors for some youth . I keep wondering what We has a powerful Nation can Truly do to best help those in need and what do they Truly want ? What do the people affected want to do ? I keep wondering this ? I want to do Whatever it is that is desired and is best for those who suffer . As others have stated the Good Samaritan did not pick up this injured man and “insist” He start a new life at His house because that would be “best”. Perhaps We need to respect and listen and then act .

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