In today’s blog, we ask a variety of Christian thought leaders why we as Christians should care about the conflict in Syria, a crisis that day to day often feels very far from us. Or someone else’s problem.
Rich Stearns, World Vision U.S. president
For me the question is: Why don’t Christians care about Syria? I could offer a few reasons. This is a complex disaster without a clear solution, and many people are fatigued from Middle East crises. But I can’t imagine Jesus telling us to, in effect, walk by this human need as the priest and Levite did in the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is always our call to stop, bind up the wounds, comfort, and care for all of our hurting “neighbors.” Aren’t they all created in the image of God?
Matthew Paul Turner (writes at Matthew Paul Turner)
My friend, Mohammad, grew up in Syria. Most of his family still calls the Damascus suburbs home. The stories that Mohammad has told me about his homeland are filled with heartbreak, violence, death, poverty, and fear. He’s lost relatives because of the conflict. He’s lost contact with friends and family. As of our last conversation, he wasn’t sure he still had a house or address to call home. Millions of Syrian people are displaced as refugees or inside Syria, most of whom are children or innocent bystanders.
At the feeding of the 5,000, after the disciples suggested sending the hungry crowd away, Jesus said, “No, you feed them.” Jesus wasn’t asking his followers for charity; he was asking them to step up, have faith, and take responsibility for people in need. Jesus loves the Syrian people, and so should we.
I don’t believe that Jesus is simply asking us for charity, I believe he wants us to take responsibility for standing with this nation of hungry, scared, and displaced people. I believe he wants us to feed and clothe and bring medical assistance to Mohammad’s family and to the millions of innocent faces just like them.
Zack Hunt (writes at The American Jesus)
Why should American Christians care about strangers in Syria? Because seeking justice, rescuing the oppressed, defending the orphan, pleading for the widow, and caring for the least of these is the way of Christ. (Isaiah 1:17; Matthew 25:31-46) We may not be able to end the military conflict or bring political stability to Syria, but as people who claim to be disciples of Jesus, we must do whatever we can, however we can to care for the oppressed, the orphans, the widows, the refugees, and all those in Syria whose lives have been torn apart by the civil war.
Ron Edmondson (writes at Ron Edmondson)
Over 3 million children are now in the "uneducated" status because of the refugee crisis in Syria. And that’s not the worst of it. Receiving an education is a worthy goal, but it is swallowed in importance when life is in jeopardy. The refugee crisis has made children subject to malnutrition, disease, and criminal activity. Shouldn’t the church be concerned? If we claim to love God, and we strive to live out our command to love others, this crisis should make us angry enough to respond with our voices and our action.
Ed Cyzewski (writes at In a Mirror Dimly)
Christians should care about the people in Syria because there is something within our power that we can do for them. When our potential reach is global, people as far away as Syria become our neighbors. We don't think twice about using a computer that has been shipped from China, and, therefore, we shouldn't think twice about shipping relief supplies to our neighbors in Syria.
Matthew 25:40 – “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
We can't end the war tomorrow, but we can provide what thousands upon thousands of refugees need today.
Kent Shaffer (writes at Open Church)
Syria is hurting. The national military and multiple rebel groups are warring against each other. Christians are dying. Muslims are dying. Women, children, and the elderly are dying.
Christians in Syria are being killed, but they aren't the only ones. In fact, Gregory III Laham (Patriarch of the Church of Antioch) estimates that only 1,000 of the 120,000 Syrians that have been killed were Christians.
As Christians ourselves, we cannot forget to care for the entire nation. The Syrian civil war is three years in the making and has caused more than 8.9 million Syrians to flee their homes.
So what is a Christian to do?
Pray. Pray for a nation that is self-imploding. Pray for Christians in Syria. May their hearts be strong. May God be their all. May His joy be their strength.
Give. World Vision is assisting Syrian refugee families with interventions like food vouchers, clean water, hygiene kits, clothing, Child-Friendly Spaces, fuel, stoves, and shelter materials.
Jeff Wright, operations director for World Vision's humanitarian and emergency affairs team
I think this question works better the other way around: Why would Christians not care? I don't read anything in the Bible to suggest that not caring about and for widows, orphans, refugees, or those fleeing from war is somehow an option. I'm frequently asked to share my thoughts on the biblical basis for World Vision's relief and development work, but to my way of thinking, it's a nonquestion. They're God's children, just like us, or just like anyone — created in His image. The Bible tells us that what we do (or do not do) to even the very least, we do to Jesus, Himself. Caring for the people of Syria in their time of crisis is in no way exempted from that.
Join us in caring for the children of Syria. Make a one-time donation to help World Vision provide emergency assistance for Syrian refugees. Your donation will help us provide basic hygiene kits and food vouchers for refugee families, as well as establish Child-Friendly Spaces to provide affected children with a safe place to play, learn, and interact with their peers.