Inside Out: Seeking Refuge

With millions displaced by the Syrian War and no end to the conflict in sight, should the United States welcome a greater number of war refugees? Whatever policy decision wins in the current debate, Matthew Soerens suggests that, essentially, Christians ask, “What Would Jesus Do?”

“I don’t think it’s unsafe to serve refugees, but it may not always be convenient,” Soerens says. “I think our call as Christians is the same: to love our neighbors as ourselves, it’s to make disciples of all nations, it’s to practice hospitality, which, in the Greek of the New Testament literally means to ‘love strangers,’ not just to have your friends over for lunch. I think we let ourselves off easy. We read those commands in Scripture to practice hospitality and we think it means to make a nice dinner for our friends.”

Soerens is a co-author of the book Seeking Refuge and the US Director of Church Mobilization for World Relief, a branch of the National Association of Evangelicals. World Relief began after World War II in response to the humanitarian crisis in Europe.

With the topic of refugees increasingly in the news, Soerens says he reflects on Chapter 5 of the New Testament Gospel of Matthew. This is where Jesus tells his followers to let their light shine before others so that people will see their good deeds and, as a result, praise the Father in heaven.

“When Jesus talked about being a shining city on the hill, He wasn’t talking about any country. He was talking to His people, his disciples, the Church,” Soerens says. “ I really feel that—even in very small ways—there will be millions of people in the world today who are going to make their determinations on who they think Jesus is based on how the people who profess to follow Him respond to this global crisis.”

Listen to our 19-minute conversation by clicking on the LISTEN or DOWNLOAD icon above.

Learn more about World Relief.

Learn about the book Seeking Refuge, by Stephan Bauman, Matthew Soerens, and Issam Smeir.