USA (MNN) — A trend we’ve seen in the United States is that people’s thoughts and opinions on the political issue of immigration can sometimes dictate their personal response to the immigrant next door.
But no matter where you land on the political spectrum, how should Christians biblically respond to our immigrant neighbors at the community level?
“I think in the political realm today, the subject of refugees — particularly refugees from the Middle East — can incite a lot of fear in our lives. In fact, many people I’ve talked to are quite afraid of the implications,” says Carl Moeller, CEO of Biblica. “This is a real problem, but I believe if we are diligent and spend our time remembering what God’s Word says about these issues, then I think we’ll be different, and we may have a more loving response to those that are in such a desperate situation.”
A wise approach to national security is good and critically necessary for countries all over the world and their citizens. But if wisdom is clouded by fear hindering Christian outreach to our neighbors, then it’s probably time for a spiritual reassessment.
“As Christians, when we’re faced with fearful or potentially fearful situations, we’re called by God’s Word to remember that He is our security,” says Moeller.
“We need to, in that first moment of fear, turn to God in prayer and say, ‘God, I trust You. I put this in Your hands.’ Secondly, to bolster that faith and to reinforce it, we need to open God’s Word. And when we open God’s Word, we will find there the strength to address the issues, whether that’s a personal condition or situation, or whether it’s a political or cultural situation. God’s Word has the resources available to each one of us to make our lives much more faith-filled rather than fear-filled.”
Community Bible Experience
Biblica is passionate about helping people live out God’s Word by reading the Bible well. One of Biblica’s programs aimed to facilitate group engagement with Scripture is the Community Bible Experience.
“At Biblica, we’ve been able to do the Community Bible Experience now for several years, and almost a million people have gone through this program of reading the Bible together in small groups that encourage and enable people to read not just short passages, and not just read the thoughts of other people about the Scripture, but to really read God’s Word the way it was intended, the way it was written to us, with long passages that flow because there’s no chapters or verses to distract us away from the pure message of the Word.
“When we do that, God’s Word sinks deep into our souls, and when that happens, we are strengthened in our inner person. And that really makes us able to face fears much more biblically and much more faithfully rather than fearfully.”
As Christians dive into God’s Word with an open heart to the Holy Spirit, we gain a clearer picture of God’s sovereignty, His plan for redemption, and of His Great Commission for believers to spread the Gospel. And that can instill a faith-filled courage that enables us to share Christ with others who are different from us.
“The Word of God continues to amaze me with its ability to be as relevant as the daily newspaper or daily email bulletins that come out of our news services, because it is in fact the most important tool for us to address the challenges of life, including the challenges that come when we are faced with the situation of world events today,” Moeller reflects.
“This is something the Community Bible Experience is really designed to help, and that is to have people spend more meaningful time reading God’s Word and being transformed by God’s Word as a process.”
Biblica has heard positive feedback from Christian leaders and churches who have utilized the Community Bible Experience.
“We’ve seen churches wholly transformed. We’ve had pastors write us and say, ‘My congregation is different today because they’ve been able to read the Bible in this way and they are now making a huge difference for their community in evangelism, in community engagement, and yes, they’re bringing more hope to their communities. They’re bringing more encouragement to the people around them, not inciting fear or even hatred. That’s what we see happening when people, when churches take up the Community Bible Experience, and when individuals read the Bible together with their small groups. It’s a powerful program that’s changing lives.”
“I would encourage anyone listening to go to our website and to find the materials there for the Community Bible Experience and bring that to your small group, bring that to your church, and say, ‘Maybe we can do this together, and in light of all that’s happening in the world around us, we really do need to read the Bible better and we really do need to have more strength in our lives of faith rather than fear.’”
Moeller offers this final thought: “I just think this is a time where the people of God must turn to the Word of God so we can be the people of God in strength and faith rather than a people who are cowering in fear. Our God has empowered us through His Word to make a difference in this world and to reach out in love and faith, not to shrink back in fear.”