The Parable of the Lost Sheep. 1 [a]The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him, 2 but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So to them he addressed this parable. 4 “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? 5 And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy 6 and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. – Luke 15: 1-7
This is the verse that came to mind today as I read various opinions about the Syrian refugee crisis. Should we let them in…should we keep them out…how many…how will they be vetted?
My first reaction was, frankly, fear. I don’t know who they are and I don’t trust our national government to do a good job of finding out.
Then I found the verse about lost sheep meandering through my cranium I thought, hey, we have to help. But I’m not sure a wide open door is really the best – or necessarily the Christian – response.
The good shepherd left the 99 to look for the lost one. These folks from Syria certainly qualify as lost ones (except for those who may be more wolf than sheep).
Before the good shepherd went searching for the one, I’m betting he made sure the 99 were in a safe place with plenty of food and water. He probably told his trusty dog to keep an eye on them.
What if he found the lost sheep in another shepherd’s flock? Would he take the whole flock? No. He would take the one that was his responsibility.
What if the flock was abandoned? Well…I’m thinking the good shepherd would have taken them and cared for them. But out of concern for his own sheep, he likely would check to make sure the new arrivals were not sick. He would make sure there were no wolves hiding among the lost sheep.
There are so many inflammatory statements floating about. President Obama said that anyone who opposes Syrian refugees is against widows and children. That is a ridiculous statement. In fact, news reports show that more than 70 percent of the refugees are adult men, and some of them likely ISIS members.
After some rather tormented reflection, I came to the conclusion that is it reasonable to demand our government be extremely cautious about who comes into our country. I want to help widows and children, but I want to make sure they don’t bring any bomb-tossing lunatics with them.
I want to be a good shepherd to the lost sheep – and the sheep already in my family.