Faith to do good

I had a discussion on Facebook today about the current presidential race, and one woman said Hillary was endangering our country by wanting to bring in Syrian refugees. The woman in question claims to be a Christian. This is something that I just don’t understand. I remember when the Syrian crisis began, the church I attended showed videos about how terrible the situation was, with Christians being beheaded by ISIS, among other terrible atrocities. At that time it seemed we were being encouraged to care and to help.

Within a few months, however, I noticed that Christians were up in arms about the possibility that Syrian refugees might be allowed into our country. “They could be terrorists,” they said. “We have to make sure we have enough for our own people before we go helping people from other countries,” they said.

I was truly astounded by this attitude coming from Christians. This is so far from what Christ taught! He taught faith, not fear. Matthew 25 says that whenever we do not help someone in need, it is as though we have failed to help Jesus. He taught that when the storms arise that we should not be afraid, but have faith, that he is always with us. He taught us not to be afraid to share what we have. Remember those loaves and fishes? What a lack of faith is displayed by those who call themselves Christians but dig in their heels against helping our Syrian brothers and sisters.

There are children who will suffer and die because of that triumph of fear over faith.

I guess I kind of take this personally, because the triumph of fear over faith, or compassion, or human kindness, or just plain goodness could well have cost my own child her life. My daughter, Michaela Joy Garecht (www.dearmichaela.com) was kidnapped in 1988, the victim of a witnessed stranger abduction. Michaela’s friend saw her being kidnapped, watched the kidnapper’s until he drove his car out of the parking lot and onto the highway. Then she ran to get help. At that time, however, there was an older woman pulling onto the same highway from across the street. She took note of the kidnapper’s car. He was driving so erratically she thought he might cause an accident, and because of that she made an attempt to memorize his license plate number.

Later that day she watched the news, and realized what it was she had seen. Did she call the police? No, she didn’t. She didn’t because she was more afraid of the remote possibility of danger to herself than she was concerned about the certainty of the horror my daughter was facing. It was three months later that she called me, but even then she was motivated by fear. She had been in the grocery store and had seen a man who looked like my daughter’s kidnapper. She was afraid that he might have recognized her and might want to hurt her, and that is why she reached out to me.

I was nice to her. I talked to her, I “understood.” I talked her into undergoing hypnosis in order to try to recall the license plate number, but it had been a long time by then, and she told me the day before the session that she would not remember the license plate number. And she didn’t.

My sweet, beautiful, kind, innocent little girl endured what unknown fate that might have been prevented if this woman had come forward with whatever information she had, if she had come forward soon enough to be able to retrieve the license plate number. I really could not understand how she could have allowed the unlikely danger to herself to outweigh my daughter’s suffering, my daughter’s life.

And I don’t understand those who would lock the gates and turn their backs on the Syrian refugees because of their own imagined perception of possible danger, or worse, because they aren’t sure we have enough to share. One day, one way or another, I believe they will have to answer for this.

The sad thing is that these people don’t even acknowledge what they are doing. They don’t own up to their fear. They don’t confess their lack of faith. They seem to think they are fine, righteous even.

It’s just part of the political climate this season I guess. A heartwrenching season. I pray it will be over soon and we can go to better days under compassionate leadership.

3 thoughts on “Faith to do good

  1. i so share your heart on this, sharon. i’m 36 now, but when i was a college student i interned one summer with an organization called world relief which is a christian refugee resettlement agency in seattle. it absolutely changed my life. (and i later ended up working for this organization for a couple of years in my 20’s.) refugees are such amazing people who have overcome more than most of us in this country can even begin to conceive of. and there are 4 groups of people in scripture that God says over and over and over again in scripture are especially close to His heart and He repeatedly commands His people to take care of them: the poor, the orphan, the widow, and the foreigner. one example among SO many:

    ” the foreigner living among you must be treated as one of your native-born. love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in egypt. i am the LORD your God.” ~leviticus 19:23

    and Jesus, of course, was Himself a refugee. his parents had to flee with him to egypt when he was a baby because of a crazed king herod.

    i also cannot conceive that any christians could justify giving into their fear over showing compassion and love to the persecuted millions that have been forced to flee their homes, jobs, and everything they’ve known in order to simply live (and allow their children to live). thankfully, i know many, many christians who DO care, who DO show compassion, who DO welcome refugees, who DO choose faith and love over fear and apathy. the news doesn’t always tell the stories. but i know many, many of these christians personally, and i know they exist all over the world. thank God.

    sending love to you, sharon. and SO with you on this.

    lauren in seattle

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    • I love that quote. I used to have it hanging outside my cubicle. I worked for eight years as an immigraton paralegal, and it was such rewarding, eye opening work! Once you know the people and what they face you can never be the same.

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      • Oh, what amazing work you did as a paralegal in immigration law. I bet you met unforgettable people and had unforgettable experiences there. Thank you for all you did! I do remember now you having shared about that work previously.

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