As we awake this morning to the distressing pictures of the young boy washed up on the shores of Turkey I only have one question in my mind. At what point in Britain will we no longer see “swarms” but real people suffering who need the safety we can provide?
It is a disgrace that we can have such a cold and callous attitude in the face of such plight for other humans; people made in the image of God with inherent dignity (Gen 1:27). But should it surprise us? Our society is constructed in such a way that we are force fed the materialistic myth of consumption leading to contentment. If this is what we rely on as our worldview (consciously or sub-consciously) it is no surprise that we give little attention to the great need of fleeing refugees and migrants.
Alongside this we have the horrible reality that one of the main roots of this is racism. We can try and pretend that it is not and dress it up in economic arguments all we want. But the grim reality is it exists.
We often look over the water to America and in our own British superiority think, “How could they behave this way toward other people”? Well the reality is that we are no different. Change the continent and the people group but the same problem resides here. It’s just that we are awfully British about it. Brushing things under the carpet never hurt anyone, did it?
God does not allow such a distant attitude. Throughout the bible we are met with his voice stating the need for action and acceptance of those who are migrants and sojourners (Deut 10:17-19). Believing people must stand up and be counted. If we take seriously God’s word then we have no option but to give voice to genuine refugees who do not have one. And the reason for this is because we know that we have been accepted into the family of God through the gospel of Jesus. I did not deserve his acceptance but this is his love; that he first loved me and forgave me (1 John 4: 10).
Where is our heart in the UK? What does it take to move us from our comfortable material wealth to bring real aid and a real voice? As people are forced to leave there home for fear of death and destruction at the hands of IS we retreat into our little world of postmodern “freedom” wallowing in either self pity or self indulgence. Our problem is not economic resources; it is compassion.
As we watch thousands of people make desperate journeys for freedom, pressing at our door what will we do? Will we open the door of compassion or cling to the heartlessness that is defining our materialistic society.