Germany, the Most Exemplary Country in the World?

Norbert Lieth

Germany has opened its doors wide for refugees. The result: lots of criticism from conservative circles, and an increasing Islamization of society. But what is actually the Christian approach to this problem?

I recently received a message with the following content: “What do you get if you cross the following borders illegally, with false or no documentation? USA: Imprisonment and deportation, with the use of firearms if necessary. Australia: Imprisonment, internment. Afghanistan: You get shot. China: At least 10 years’ imprisonment. Saudi Arabia: Lifelong imprisonment, possible flogging, possible conviction as a spy. Venezuela: Conviction as a spy. United Kingdom: Imprisonment up to 10 years, expulsion, fine. Germany: free lodging, meals, free Wi-Fi, a stipend, social assistance, child benefits, free medical care, new identification (according to the information you provide), free language courses (not compulsory); The new coalition has also agreed to a limited reunification of families.”

Don’t you think that Germany is behaving in the most Christ-like and ideal manner here, and is the one acting the most according to the Bible? Germany loves its enemies, does good to those who hate it, lives by the principle, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” gives to those who ask, is hospitable, takes in the persecuted, cares for the poor, bears the disadvantages, prefers to allow itself to be cheated, shares and does good, offers protection, proves love in action, and more.

Granted, this is an ironic exaggeration. A government also has a duty to protect its land (Rom 13:1-7). And yet, if we visualize Christian values, there’s something to all of this. On the one hand, it is exaggerating the media and politicians, who argue that we only have to see the positive and sweep the problems under the rug. On the other hand, quite a few Christian publications fall into the other extreme. They’re “only” warning us, they give ample way to their displeasure, and sometimes even (certainly unconsciously) stir up hatred. Many are quick to announce their disapproval and tar everyone with the same brush. Foreigners and asylum-seekers are summarily declared enemies, and many “Christians” agree; sometimes, it seems like the worst are also the most devout. We observe that even believers aren’t free from prejudice. And yes, sometimes they’re right, too.

The danger that lurks is real. The state must act legally and equitably. There is no question that foreigners should assimilate and not be ungrateful. But the truth is that many of them are ashamed, afraid to make contacts, and do not know how they should behave. When we greet them on friendly terms, we are often surprised by their sudden accessibility. The well-known Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen points out both sides of the coin: On one side, “Muslims must also reject and avoid conspiracy theories, which have so far only helped us avoid facing our social problems. Instead, we must tackle the real questions…” And on the other side, “Anti-Islamic rhetoric does more harm than good…”

We must not overlook the fact that many refugees really come from the greatest need and persecution, from regions afflicted by war and disaster. Among them are numerous children, elderly, and helpless women.

Let’s allow ourselves one sobering question: If Almighty God had not permitted it, would these people still be here, through whatever means? The Lord is opening a door for us to reach our fellow man with the love of God and the Gospel. Foreigners become converted; they can see in a non-Muslim foreign country a society that works much better together, in terms of equality and the economy, than the nations from which they come and in which Islam praises itself so much. Many are disappointed in their religion and are ready to open themselves up. Why don’t we use the opportunity for an example of charity and the proclamation of the Good News? To this day, missionaries go abroad, not infrequently amid great hostility, to spread the active love and Gospel of Jesus Christ in very different cultures. Now God is sending the other cultures to us, and we shut down…

Is egoism and lovelessness the image that we want to convey to strangers to Christianity? In his book Christentum und Islam (“Christianity and Islam”), Dr. Detschko Svilenov mentions two pieces of wisdom from antiquity that should make us think of Western believers, who for the most part revel in almost royal wealth. Firstly, “There is only one crime in the wilderness that is more terrible than murder and more grave than theft: to know where there is water, and not to tell it!” On the other hand, “We must not tear down a man’s hut in which he has been living for years, and force him to move to a nicer house. It is enough if we build a royal castle near his hut. Then he will voluntarily leave his hut and move to the royal castle.”

There is a danger from extremist Muslims, that is true, and it is precisely the Western state authority that must be on guard. Still, if the Islamists become a great danger, then that too is sent by God. Allow me the remark: Maybe we do not deserve anything different, and a divine wake-up call is simply necessary. The state cannot tolerate any violations of the law, no matter the guilty party, which is why we have to pray all the more for the government (1 Tim 2:1 ff.). 

Let us remember that as Christians, we have only one purpose: namely, to serve the Most High. He who innocently gave His life for us; who did not resist but loved us when we were still His enemies (Rom 5:8-10). We should set the love of the Savior in motion, focus on it, and not dwell on the negative.

Midnight Call - 08/2018

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety