Loving Syrians and Learning from Our History of Fear
Saying we should Love others is a pretty easy statement to make. If you are a follower of Jesus, it's the essence of his teachings and kind of required. I think many of us desire to and probably feel that we do pretty okay at Loving others. However, if we really think about it, there are more than likely some serious stipulations we tend to employ, many of which even sound like straight up logic.
For example, with the Syrian refugee crisis being one of the greatest humanitarian disasters in our lifetime, I think that most of us desire to help and Love Syrian refugees. But then fear creeps in with a list of reasons we can't actually help. I wish we could help but our economy just couldn't handle it... I wish we could help but we don't have the resources... I wish we could help but we don't trust the vetting process and terrorists could get in (with Isis making over a million dollars a day, I doubt their method of infiltrating the US would be through the long exhausting process to obtain refugee status in the US, I mean they can probably afford to forge a passport. Just a side note).
What we hear, is fear beating out Love. We want to choose to Love first, but the fear of perceived risk to ourselves, too often, overpowers our desire to Love. Our justifications may seem completely logical, but at what expense? Millions of innocent lives that we "couldn't" Love for whatever reason?
During WWII the US denied entry to thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust. We were coming out of the Great Depression and feared our economy couldn't handle it. There was also a fear that Nazis agents could infiltrate the US posing as Jewish refugees. So with a certain death sentence, we let fear win. Sound familiar? I don't believe any of us would condone this decision today. We all believe this was a grave mistake in the history of our nation. So then, why are we repeating the same mistake?
We all know FDR's famous line in his inaugural speech, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." Though FDR didn’t take into account his own words during WWII, we can now. How many more will we deny safety and even a chance at life, because of fear? How many more innocent children and families will we turn our back on because of fear? How many more times will we repeat the mistakes of our past, until we learn to choose a different path?
Amazing things happen when we choose to Love first. Maybe you have experienced it yourself, maybe someone chose to Love you when they "logically” shouldn't have. You can even start small, smile at people (it is crazy how powerful something as small as a smile can be :)). Or go big, choose to Love at every opportunity, no matter what the inconvenience or risk may be and just see what happens! Maybe, when we feel those seemingly rational reasons why we can't Love creeping in, examine the perceived risk of Loving first vs the certain devastation of not. Humanize, employ the smallest amount of empathy, we have this option and we need to take it. It will change our life, our heart, and our world.
Fear kills Love but Love kills fear. It's our choice what path we take, what we value more. It's never too late to let Love win.