The cost of the ammo I will be using for deer hunting doubled this year. Why? Well because of bald eagles.
I love bald eagles. I find them fascinating. It is one of the many things I love about living in Wisconsin. I see bald eagles everywhere. In fact my favorite fishing spot and duck hunting spot is real close to a bald eagle nest and therefore I regularly see eagles and eaglets flying around while I fish and hunt. This is why Pam’s Christmas gift to me last year was a trip to the Raptor Education Group, Inc‘s (REGI for short) eagle release this past year.
REGI is a great group that rehabilitates eagles, other raptors, and various other birds with the hope of releasing them back to the wild. Many of the eagles that REGI rehabilitates are suffering from lead poisoning. How are the eagles poisoned by the lead? Well it isn’t because eagles often mistake lead for food. Nope it is because they scavenge the gut piles left from field dressing deer that have been shot with lead bullets. One of the things I like about eagles is that aren’t all that noble. Nope they are opportunist. Free deer guts are a tasty meal for them, so they clean up what we deer hunters leave behind. Unfortunately because most hunters use lead ammo this often gives eagles lead poisoning. The second I learned this I realized that if I loved eagles then I was going to have to start hunting with more expensive non-lead ammo. If I love eagles then I need to do everything I can to change my behavior not to hurt them, even when it costs more than I would like to pay. So this year my ammo for deer hunting cost me double what it normally would.
This is how we come to dealing with refugees. If we believe Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) then we don’t have an option of not helping the refugees just because we might think (wrongly in my opinion, but that is a discussion for another time) it could be dangerous. The cost to us doesn’t matter. Danger isn’t a valid excuse for a Christian to not obey Christ and Jesus tells us to help those who are hungry, thirsty, and in need of places to stay (Matthew 25:31-46 calls us “sheep” if we do and “goats” if we don’t). Now I don’t think the Syrian refugees poise any danger BUT even if they do if you are believer in Jesus Christ then you are called to help them. We can debate about how best to help them but we can’t say “We have to worry about our safety so we can’t help them.” If you believe in Jesus as Savior then that belief should change your behavior. If it doesn’t then we need to consider whether we really believe in Jesus or not. Truly loving Jesus leads us to value the “things” He does and the “things” He values are people, very often people in need.
One of the best known stories of the New Testament fits here. The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) is a story that is known and loved concerning helping others. What is often forgotten is that the Samaritan put himself at risk by his actions. He has a member of a class that was biased against within 1st Century Judaism. He actions not only cost him the money he paid to the inn keeper but they also put him into the situation where he could have suffered violence as a result of his assistance. It was the equivalent of a black man stopping and helping a white woman in a racially divided area during the Jim Crow era. It might be the right thing to do but that right thing might put you in harm’s way. Jesus told this story as an example and no part of that example includes the message “if it is dangerous don’t do this”.
Why? Because if you love someone, that loves changes your actions and you.