Refugees or migrants: lives caught in political battles

News stories of the tragic boat accidents seeing many would be migrants drown should capture many of our hearts. However, in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and many other nations, the topic is a political hot potato that divides the nations. Elections are won and lost on the ability to ‘turn back the boat people’. Debates rage about whether these are genuine refugees, economic refugees, or some other category that seems to justify the tragedy of their deaths.

There is no doubt that this is a complex issue with a range of issues defining the world’s response. I am not arguing for one political response, or even what that political response would be. I look at those scenes of devastation and loss and ask is my heart moved with compassion.

Somewhere the systems are failing to deal these people. Somewhere lack of justice, whether it is political, social, or legal leaves many people feeling they have no choice but to invest all that they have so that maybe they will have a better life. Somewhere, someone is making money while sending people on treacherous voyages with sometimes very tragic endings.

Somewhere, God’s heart looks and is moved with compassion because he sees the people as sheep without a shepherd. His heart breaks. The Church needs to wake up to compassion again. It needs a revival that will give God’s heart. He has shown us what is good, and what he requires of us: to justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

Lord God, have mercy on those whose lives are devastated by tragic loss. Whatever reason they got on those boats, forgive our coldness and lack of concern for justice, and have mercy on your people who are desperate for a different life.

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