Testing the Limits of our Hearts
As we welcome refugees into Australia, how should we respond? Jess talks about the need to welcome refugees into our borders and discusses ways in which we can love our neighbours.
If you happened upon our world today from 100 years ago, and looked at a current geographical map, you would basically see the same land masses and contours that have been there for thousands of years. However, if you opened a political world map, you may not recognise this as the same earth.
Borders have moved, regimes have risen and toppled, fences have gone up, leaders have come down, allegiances have been forged, the bloodiest wars in history have been fought and today our world has created delineations around almost 200 separate nations (three times the number in 1915).
While mass media, social media, satellite dishes, cultural awareness and flight travel weaken the strength of these borders; our policy making, our grip on our own security, missiles and fear of others have the equal ability to bolster these borders.
In today’s refugee crisis, people are not only victims of political disorder and unrest, but also victims of borders. They seek to define both land and people. They hem people in and keep people out. In a world where every person has the right to seek asylum, political borders can present as stronger than the individual need. It is estimated today that there are four million Syrian refugees wondering within which border they will find their safe haven.
Whilst political borders are a reality in our world today, they should not dictate the limits of our hearts. As we welcome refugees into Australia, how should we respond? Do we also delineate, live in fear, build higher fences, cast judgment, and hold fast to our own sense of security? Or do we start a conversation, change a conversation, open up our home for a meal, take in a family, go for a walk in a new neighbourhood, volunteer to teach English, offer a gift and test the limits of our hearts?
OM Australia Inc. has been privileged to partner with OM ministries around the world who have done just that – they have met refugees at their point of need. They have moved into the difficult neighbourhoods and stepped across borders into places that are ravaged by war. They have sacrificed their comfort zone in order to help others find security.
Our borders here in Australia mark out a land of peace, plenty and hope. May those who find their way here encounter Australians who have dismantled their own borders around such things.
Article by Jess Groszek. Photo by Jordan Armstrong