The current conversation in social media surrounding the Syrian Refugee Crisis has gotten me thinking. I have read estimated reports that up to 9 million Syrians have fled their homes! Where do they go? Who takes them in? How do they make new lives for themselves?
The Syrian Refugee Crisis, immigration issues, politics, all of it is really complicated and most of us who have opinions probably have only partially informed opinions. I don’t know that I have an opinion as to whether we should allow however many tens of thousands of Syrians into the United States. I don’t know if I am smart enough to have an opinion, much less an informed one.
But I do have an observation.
This morning I read the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15:11-32. And I saw something of myself in the parable. And as I saw myself, I think I saw many of us.
No, I don’t see the Syrian Refugees as the prodigal son who has gone astray. But I saw myself. I saw myself as the older brother. The GOOD brother. The one who has done the right things: worked hard, made good choices, etc.
The Older Brother struggled when his younger brother, who lived a different lifestyle, came home and Dad wanted to throw down a party in celebration. The older brother struggled because it meant loss to him. The party would cost him his portion of the inheritance (the part not given to the younger son when he left). At the end of the day, there would be less for him because someone who didn’t work for it was going to have squandered it one more time – at another party – this time thrown by his dad.
The older brother didn’t really love his father. He loved his father’s wealth and was angry none of it had been given to him and he lashes out, “when have you even given me a little goat…!?” The father, of course, reaffirms his love and that all he has is his and pleads compellingly, “This is your brother…!”
I wonder if we, as citizens of the United States, are more worried about what we will lose if Syrian Refugees come into the states than we are about their well being. I wonder if we actually love our lifestyles and stuff more than we love the country we live in? I wonder if we love our way of life more than we even love God?
Not only couldn’t the older brother find compassion for his brother, but he also couldn’t see the blessing in having him home. His own brother.
I think Dad might be saying, “This is your brother! This is your sister!”
I don’t think I want to be the older brother.