This week I read a comment at the bottom of a BBC article on asylum seekers entering the UK. With many of the responses being the same, “Why are we allowing them to enter? Turn them around and send them back”.
Many of you will be well aware of the situation in Afghanistan, with the US decision to withdraw their troops. This has enabled the Taliban, a political and militant operation with an extremist Islamic agenda, to seize control of the country at a devastating speed.
To be honest, when I read the comments I understand how people can come to a place where they believe that sending Afghan refugees back is the right response, even though it is wrong. This response is wrong because it is a reaction based in fear.
It’s a fear that as a country we don’t have enough to go around. Enough housing, food, health care, places in schools; the list goes on. As followers of Jesus however, we don’t look to our government to provide for our needs, we look to our Heavenly Father who provides all that we need in abundance.
Our job is not to hoard what we have, but to love those who have not.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
The charity Unicef are reporting that hundreds of children have been violently killed in the last month by the Taliban, and thousands more seriously injured. There are Afghan mothers at Kabul airport throwing their babies over barbed wire fences to US and UK soldiers asking them to save their children.
Over half a million Afghans have had to flee their homes due to the violence and threat being forced upon them. That’s half a million people who have left all that they have, leaving behind families, work and security, forced into becoming exiles with nowhere to go.
Without a doubt the people of Afghanistan need our prayers right now. But also there is a challenge for us to have soft hearts turned towards the people that Jesus was referring to; those who are hungry, thirsty, estranged and in real need. Jesus says, what you do for them, you do for Him.
- Michael Coltman