Nobody wants to be taken advantage of, plain and simple. Unfortunately, we seem to see it quite a bit in our everyday lives. When was the last time you went to get an oil change a solid 10,000 miles before you needed to replace your air filter and they didn’t try to sell you one anyway? Recently, my water heater bit the dust and I needed it replaced. I’m generally the “try it yourself first” type, but when it comes to explosions and toxic invisible gas, I’m passing on that task. The first plumber that came out looked around, gave me an estimate (which seemed high), and then charged me a fee just for coming out to tell me that he couldn’t fix my old water heater and would have to install a new one. I politely paid and sent him on his way. The second plumber provided his estimate ($900 less) and told me that his estimate was good for 30 days. He told me that I should take my time making the decision and offered advice that sounded like the advice he’d give a family member, one of his own. The second plumber put my mind at ease, and he earned my business that day.
What does this have to do with refugees? They might be some of the most vulnerable people you’ll ever meet. Many of them come from corrupt nations, nations where it is commonplace for their own leadership and societal authorities to abuse, rob, and humiliate them. If they are fortunate enough to escape persecution in their home countries, they are then at the mercy of people that don’t speak their language, have much more money, and frankly just have more power. A refugee in the U.S. might not know that monthly rent in the run-down Dallas apartment they reside in shouldn’t cost them $1,500. A fortunate refugee might be able to work hard enough overtime to gather up the money needed for a car, but might fall prey to a salesman ready to take advantage of their lack of language and cultural inexperience. This is certainly not an indictment of all property managers, nor car salespeople, nor our general American population. As we’ve all experienced, people exist that seek to prey on the vulnerable, many of whom God has brought to us strategically.
So what does God say about this? Psalm 82:3-4 tells us “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the land of the wicked.” Additionally, in Matthew 25 we find Jesus’ teachings about caring for the poor and inviting the stranger into our home. What we do for them, we do for Him. So when we offer our time to serve the vulnerable, to help them navigate life in a new land, we do so for Him. We’ve been placed strategically, all part of His omniscient plan, to stand for the vulnerable, speak for the mute, and love as He loves us. Your prayers, your support, and your commitment to His mission to serve the least of these, greatly honors Him.