How to Love Your Refugee Neighbor

Of all the places your refugee neighbor might live, why did God determine to make him or her your neighbor? 

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” Acts 17:26-27 

God determined that they may be your neighbor for a purpose; that they might find Him.

In Luke 10, a teacher of the law knew God’s law clearly taught, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus then responded with the famous story of the Good Samaritan to describe how to love your neighbor. The Good Samaritan teaches us four ways we can love our refugee neighbor.

  1. Initiate love. Take the first step to greet your refugee neighbor.

“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him…”  Luke 10:33-34 

The Good Samaritan did not ignore his neighbor like the two others in the story. He took the initiative to go to him in his place of need. Don’t wait for your refugee neighbor to approach you. Gently approach her or him with a smile acknowledging that you are glad they are your neighbor.

  1. Show personal love. Intentionally learn what makes them unique.

“He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.” Luke 10:34 

The Good Samaritan showed personal care for his neighbor based on his needs. Find out what makes your refugee neighbor unique. Ask them questions like these:

  • What is your name and does it have a specific meaning? 

  • What is your country of birth? What do you miss most about your country?

  • What language do you speak at home? Can you teach me how you greet each other in your language? How do you say “thank you” in your language?

God determined that they may be your neighbor for a purpose; that they might find Him.

  1. Show unconditional love. Treat your refugee neighbor as Jesus has treated you.

“Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’” Luke 10:34-35

The Good Samaritan did not ask himself, “Is this a good guy?” His love was not based on the man’s worthiness but based on compassion and unconditional love. When you are tempted to avoid your neighbor or make quick judgements, remember how God has loved you in Christ. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Rom. 15:7) We are to treat others as Christ has treated us; not based on their worthiness but according to His love and kindness. See this as an opportunity to demonstrate the incomparable love of Jesus to your refugee neighbor. 

  1. Take a risk. Make a costly sacrifice. Live for a greater reward.

“‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”” Luke 10:35-37

The Good Samaritan gave above and beyond what was expected or required. His love for his neighbor motivated him to make costly sacrifices. Be ready to make costly sacrifices of your time and energy. And realize that your love may not be reciprocated. Your reward is the opportunity to show the love of Jesus to the nations. “Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14)

The teacher of the law asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded by asking him, “Who proved to be a neighbor to this man?”


Sign up to get our monthly resource
to equip you to LIVE THE STORY!
We help churches engage their people in global missions 
[email protected]
© 2024 Engage global