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Mercy over Judgment

By K.J. Hill and Reema Nasrallah //

The tragic fall of Afghanistan’s government has led the international community to rally to assist evacuees fleeing the Taliban. More than 1,000 of these Afghan evacuees are slated for resettlement in North Carolina in the coming months.

As a pastor, I have been getting lots of questions about this crisis. Many of the questions are rooted in compassion with a sincere desire to help, like “How can we help people arriving overcome culture shock?” or “How can we meet basic needs like housing, clothing and food? Other questions reveal cynicism, angst, and fear, such as “How do we know people coming here can be trusted?” or “How do we know they are who they claim to be? These questions — which are also asked about asylum-seekers at our southern border — aren’t new, but are actually the same questions that the early church was asking.

In fourth-century Antioch, Archbishop John Chrysostom objected to the congregations who were complaining about poor foreigners (including refugees and economic migrants) arriving in their city: “But to what extent do [the poor] seek to deceive you? They are fugitives, they say, strangers, worthless creatures, who have left their native land and are gathering in our city. Do you resent this, tell me, and do you pluck the crown of honor from your city, because all men consider it a common refuge, and prefer it to their own land? Nay, rather, for this reason you ought to exult and rejoice, that to you, as if to some common market, they all run, and consider this city their common mother.” Read more at Baptist Press.

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