INSTRUCTIONS: Spark conversations about biblical truth by discussing the “News Nugget” below. Bring it up in conversation, as a discussion-starter at the beginning of your gathering, as a small-group discussion-starter, or as part of a Bible study. Add any additional information and new developments. Then discuss the event or story through the lens of one or more biblical themes. You can even send these discussion-starters to your teenagers as catalysts for conversations with friends and family.
News Nugget: Last Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order temporarily banning visitors and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries. “This is not about religion,” he says, but “about terror and keeping our country safe.” Protests and chaos soon erupted at airports, as travelers were stranded and even detained. Families have been separated, and plans are being dashed. Mahmoud Hassan, an 18-year-old from Syria, has received a scholarship to MIT but now says, “My dreams are basically ruined.” Raya Bidshahri, a 21-year-old student in Boston, fears she’ll have to return to Iran in May, when her student visa expires. “We are being treated like we’re terrorists, as if we want to cause trouble, when above all we just want to make the United States a better place,” she says. Many religious organizations are speaking out against Trump’s order, saying a religious test shouldn’t be required to enter America.
Themes to Explore:
- Safety and protection (see Psalm 59:1-5)
- Refugees and foreigners (see Deuteronomy 10:17-22)
- Welcoming strangers (see Matthew 25:34-40)
- Respond to this statement: It’s more important for America to protect itself and its citizens from terrorist attacks than to worry about the rights and needs of people from other nations.
- What obligations, if any, does America have to embrace people from other lands? What’s your opinion of having a religious “test” to enter our country? If refugees are Christians or are being persecuted for their faith, should they receive priority treatment and be admitted to the United States? Explain.
- To you, what does Jesus’ command to welcome strangers mean personally? How can you apply it in your day-to-day life?