Refugees fleeing the dangers and disorder of Iraq and Syria have reached a bottleneck in Hungary. As the point of entry from the Middle East into Europe, Hungary has been under extreme stress from the influx of refugees.
The scenes were emblematic of a crisis – about 350,000 refugees and migrants have reached the border of the European Union this year – that has left the 28-nation EU groping for solutions amid dysfunctional squabbling over burden-sharing.
Many EU countries have voiced a desire to accept thousands of refugees but getting through Hungary has proven problematic. Just this week, though, the floodgates opened and thousands of refugees have been spilling over into Austria and Germany. Here they have been well received by the people and the administrations. Organized registration, helpful NGO volunteers, and accepting citizens – some holding “Refugees Welcome!” signs – are making this transition smoother than expected.
This is a stark contrast to Hungarian treatment…
Hungarian officials have portrayed the crisis as a defence of Europe’s prosperity, identity and “Christian values” against an influx of mainly Muslim refugees.
What “Christian values” should we really be concerned about pertaining to foreigners and refugees?
You must not pervert justice due a resident foreigner or an orphan, or take a widow’s garment as security for a loan. (Deuteronomy 24:17, NET)
Whenever you reap your harvest in your field and leave some unraked grain there, you must not return to get it; it should go to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow so that the Lord your God may bless all the work you do. (Deuteronomy 24:19, NET)
You will celebrate all the good things that the Lord your God has given you and your family, along with the Levites and the resident foreigners among you. (Deuteronomy 26:11, NET)
The Lord says, “Do what is just and right. Deliver those who have been robbed from those who oppress them. Do not exploit or mistreat foreigners who live in your land, children who have no fathers, or widows. Do not kill innocent people in this land. (Jeremiah 22:3, NET)
And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, so that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer foreigners and noncitizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, (Ephesians 2:17–19, NET)
These all died in faith without receiving the things promised, but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13, NET)
Loving and caring for the sojourner and foreigner among us is deeply rooted in the Torah, ardently defended by the Prophets, and vitally important for understanding the gospel. We all live as foreigners and sojourners, expelled from our original home with God in Eden. But God has sought us out in our isolation and brought us near through the work of Jesus. But even now, as citizens of the kingdom of God and part of His household, we hold loosely to the things of this world acknowledging that this is not out home. A greater home awaits with signs that say “Refugees Welcome!”