So I’ve been thinking about all the refugee conversation that’s been rattling all around the news, the “water-cooler,” and social media this past week. I’ve been kind of horrified, to be honest, at the way fear has wormed its way into the consciousness, the opinions, and the decision-making of so many.
“Forget the Statue of Liberty,” many politicians (including North Carolina’s governor) are saying, “Fact is, you’re not welcome here…”
FEAR: Fear is an interesting phenomenon. And – typically – we approach it entirely the wrong way.
The best way to deal with fear is not to throw rocks, to demonize, to fight, to obliterate, to hide, to separate, to exclude, to build bigger walls, to pull out bigger weapons…
The best way to overcome fear is to love.
Seriously – and it’s a principle that is foundational to the ministry of Jesus and the witness of Christ’s followers – love is the exact opposite of fear.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. – 1 John 4:18
So when we look at the prospect of offering hospitality, mercy, grace, generosity, shelter, and a home to refugees from the Middle East, then what we are really doing is engaging the most effective intervention possible when it comes to dealing with fear.
Love isn’t just the best response to fear; it’s the only response that can move us forward. As children of God, as individuals, as communities, as states, as a nation.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear… whoever fears has not reached perfection in love” (1 John 4).