Recently I had a wonderful conversation with a Yazidi family over a meal. We talked about many things, but one comment from one of the sisters stuck with me and impressed me greatly. Her comment was in stark contrast to much discussion about refugees in the media and misconceptions by many Americans. There is a misconception that they are a drain to our economy and society and that they want to stay on government assistance.
My friend shared with me about how an American asked her if she liked America because of the assistance she and her family receives. She shared with that person a comment that resonated with me strongly. Her answer was, “We like Lincoln and America because- HERE WE ARE PEOPLE.”
Here we are people. I thought about how the Yazidis were labeled as less than human by those who were perpetrating genocide against them. I thought about the centuries of oppression and discrimination they have lived through. I have heard their stories about being oppressed. They like my home city of Lincoln because- HERE WE ARE PEOPLE.
Being treated with kindness and respect after years of oppression that left emotional and psychological scars made her feel human She has scars emotionally. But- HERE WE ARE PEOPLE. This caused me to reflect on that old saying-What Would Jesus Do?
What would Jesus do if he were living here in Lincoln? After all, he ate in the homes of those rejected by the self righteous hypocrites of that time. I am certain he would visit their homes, visit their community centers, and spend time with them. In Matthew 9 in the bible it says of Jesus as he looked on the crowds of people that, “He was filled with compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless…”
How will we who call ourselves Christians respond when we meet refugees? Will our hearts be filled with compassion or will we choose to remain ignorant and judge? It takes more effort to let ourselves be filled with compassion because that requires us to do something for those we have compassion for, but if we do choose compassion, we will grow closer to Jesus at the same time.