Who is my neighbor? How you answer that could change your life.
Yesterday the world saw a haunting picture of the body of a three-year-old boy face down on a Turkish beach. His name was Aylan. He along with 12 others (including five children) drowned when their boat capsized. Over 2,600 of migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea trying to get to Europe this year. Syrians are risking death to flee their country for a chance at life.
Aylan was my neighbor.
We’ve seen death before, but it was the picture of this little boy that captured attention. BBC spoke with his father who said, “I tried to catch my children and wife but there was no hope. One by one they died,” Abdullah Kurdi said.
Kurdi is my neighbor.
There have been different responses to refugees. Many Syrians have been met with violence as emotions rise and scuffles break out. Their fear is real. After weeks of a dangerous journey they are terrified they will be indefinitely stuck in a refugee camp.
They are my neighbor.
Hungary built a fence along the Serbia border and sent riot police to meet incoming trains filled with refugees. BBC reported, “In Brussels, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban described the situation as a ‘German problem’ as Germany was where those arriving in the EU ‘would like to go.’”
France and Germany want to create permanent systems to accept those seeking asylum. Germany greeted refugees with kindness and organized help. They have had an overwhelming amount of donations for refugees getting off the train to register.
They are my neighbors.
Germany has vowed to continue to take in refugees. The US has only taken in 1,000.
There is no end in sight for the Syrian war. BBC has called this crisis a ‘global failure’ to protect refugees. More than 240,000 people have been killed since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March 2011. There are over 4 million registered refugees and over 7 million Syrians are displaced.
Who will protect these people? Who will be their neighbor?
“And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’
Who is your neighbor? The answer to that is everyone. Even your enemy. To love our neighbor as ourselves is not just to love, but to love as if I am you and you are me. If we are one, how can we not love? Dallas Willard wrote, to love your neighbor as yourself is to “live compassion.” If we love God with all our heart, we can love others from the overflow of love, compassion, mercy and justice.
There are ways to help in this crisis. More needs to be done, but here is a start: From ChurchLeaders, here are Three Things We Can Do to Help as the Greatest Humanitarian Crisis Worsens. The Independent gives Five practical ways you can help refugees trying to find safety in Europe.
BBC published a great article to better understand the history of this conflict.